Friday, March 8, 2013
Gen. James Thurman, the commander of the U.S. Forces Korea, expressed worries on Thursday over North Korea's threat to scrap the armistice that halted the 1950-1953 Korean War.
"It concerns me when any signatory to a mutual agreement makes a public statement contrary to that agreement," he told reporters.
The North had earlier threatened to turn Seoul and Washington into a "sea of fire" and "wave its flag" on the ridge of Mt. Halla on Jeju Island.
Thurman apparently decided to issue a statement of his own following the lead of the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff, who warned the previous day they will "strongly and sternly" strike the "starting point, its supporting forces and command" if the North attempts a provocation.
Thurman said, "We remain ready to defend the Republic of Korea."
A military source said the statement "sends a warning to the North that if it provokes, South Korea and the U.S. will respond together."
On Thursday, when the UN was about to impose tougher sanctions against North Korea over its latest nuclear test, the official Rodong Sinmun daily threatened to attack the U.S. "We have no binding agreement with the U.S. whereby either side can find fault with the other if one presses the nuclear button first," the paper said. The "means of strike" are now on standby, it claimed, and "if the button is pressed, it will be launched, and the bastion of aggression will turn into a sea of fire."
The Chosun Ilbo
The stock market's run will result in either a 20 percent correction or a more nasty sell off at some point this year, Marc Faber, publisher of the Gloom Boom and Doom report, told CNBC's "Closing Bell" on Thursday.
Faber pointed out that it's been almost exactly four years since the stock market bottomed out. "We're up very substantially, I think investors who today rush into stocks should be reminded of that," he said.
Echoing comments made on CNBC earlier this week by Stanley Druckenmiller, founder of hedge fund Duquesne Capital, Faber said that it will end badly for stocks. "But unlike Stan, I believe it will end badly this year," Faber said.
Just four years ago, candidate Barack Obama said he believed that marriage was between a man and a woman. "And God is in the mix." Who moved?
Say what you will about President Barack Obama's policies, millions of Americans voted for the man in no small part because his family represents a much yearned-for ideal. How much happier Americans would be if all our children lived in a stable, loving, married family with a mom and a dad--like the Obama family. Many writers expressed the hope that having these real-life Huxtables in the White House would turn around many devastating pathologies in America's cities--and in our rural areas, too.
But that was then. Last week, President Obama dropped the family friendly mask. He sent his Solicitor General, Donald Verrilli up the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court with a simple message:
Dump Dads. Lose Moms.
That's because the Solicitor General speaks for the President. In the most august and formal way, it is this officer who carries the President's deepest convictions to lay them before the nation's High Court. What the Solicitor General actually said was this:
"As an initial matter, no sound basis exists for concluding that same-sex couples who have committed to marriage are anything other than fully capable of responsible parenting and child-rearing. To the contrary, many leading medical, psychological, and social-welfare organizations have issued policy statements opposing restrictions on gay and lesbian parenting based on their conclusion, supported by numerous scientific studies, that children raised by gay and lesbian parents are as likely to be well adjusted as children raised by heterosexual parents."
"The weight of the scientific literature strongly supports the view that same-sex parents are just as capable as opposite-sex parents."
Actually, the weight of scientific evidence proves no such thing. All the work of the Marriage and Religion Research Institute shows that children do best in a family where mother and dad are married and where the family worships regularly.
As for children raised by two adults of the same sex, the most extensive study ever done was that of Dr. Mark Regnerus. Dr. Regnerus of the University of Texas conducted the largest, most rigorously controlled study in history. Here's what the U.T. study found:
The results of the NFSS [National Family Structures Study]research revealed that the "no differences" claim--the claim that children raised by parents in gay or lesbian relationships fared no worse and in some cases better than children raised by intact biological parents -was not true. On the contrary, the children of these households, on average, did worse than children raised by their biological, still-married parents.
The weight of scientific evidence--as opposed to Donald Verrilli's politically correct posturing--shows that his statements before the High Court are "not true. Remember, we are talking about the well-being of the children, not whether the adults in these relationships are well-satisfied with their domestic arrangements.
People around the world are amazed at the casual way some Americans are ready to dispense with mothers and fathers. In France, for example, a young pro-marriage spokesman joined the nearly 800,000 impassioned defenders of marriage who turned out in Paris on Jan. 13th. This young spokesman--Xavier Bongibault--said "everyone needs a mother and a father. It's only natural." It is natural. And this young demonstrator is gay.
He understands what the Obama administration refuses to acknowledge: Children need their mothers and fathers. It is their natural right. We can go as far back as 1790 and Edmund Burke and the French Revolution to see confirmation of this. The Rights of Man, wrote the great Irish philosopher and parliamentary leader, include the right to "the inheritance of our parents and the consolations of religion."
The Obama administration is casting all that away. President Obama promised to "fundamentally transform America." Few then realized he meant it. Abolishing marriage is what he is doing. Not changing. Not expanding. More than re-defining marriage, he is abolishing it.
Pat Moynihan was a liberal, but a sensible liberal. His was a voice crying in the wilderness when he expressed his alarm for the black family when the out-of-wedlock birthrate rose to 24%. That was 1965. Now, the out-of-wedlock birthrate for the entire country is 42%. Moynihan was right.
"What's the use of being Irish," Pat Moynihan said when President Kennedy was killed, "if you don't know the world will break your heart." Now, we are all Irish. The world is breaking our hearts. And President Obama is breaking our hearths.
Most people are probably unaware that in addition to the Secrets of Fátima, a second, most renowned Marian apparitionfrom La Salette, France, which was approved by Popes Pius IX and Leo XIII, revealed analogous information about a crisis of faith that would transpire within Roman Catholicism in the last days, during which Rome would become the seat of the Antichrist.
Delivered to Mélanie Calvat and Maximin Giraud on September 19, 1846, while they tended cattle in the mountains, the Secret of La Salette reads in part:
The earth will be struck by calamities of all kinds (in addition to plague and famine which will be wide-spread). There will be a series of wars until the last war, which will then be fought by the ten Kings of the Antichrist, all of whom will have one and the same plan and will be the only rulers of the world. Before this comes to pass, there will be a kind of false peace in the world. People will think of nothing but amusement. The wicked will give themselves over to all kinds of sin…this will be the hour of darkness. The Church will suffer a terrible crisis… Rome will lose the Faith and become the seat of the Antichrist… The Church will be in eclipse, the world will be in dismay.[i]
In The Plot Against The Pope; Coup dé’tat in the Conclave–1958, Gary Giuffré discusses how French Masonic influences who had infiltrated the Catholic clergy in the 1800s were working overtime to suppress and discredit the Secret of La Salette, even though its message had been officially favored by two popes. This was because at that time, prophetic references to Rome “becoming the seat of Antichrist” was forming a common eschatology among Catholic scholars like Cardinal Henry Manning (discussed elsewhere in this book), Bishop Salvator Grafen Zola, and Frederick William Helle, who saw in these predictions the work of Masonically infested clergy who plotted the overthrow of the papacy and the use of the Church as a political vehicle for an occult World Order. “These kinds of details, found in the genuine, modern-day, Marian prophecies, would always generate the greatest opposition from the Church’s enemies who had infiltrated her structures,” wrote Giuffré. “For they threatened to expose the satanic plot and long-time goal of the Masonic Lodge’s agents in the Vatican, to usurp and control the papal chair.”[ii]
And it has to be remembered that the specter of infiltration of the Roman Catholic hierarchy by members of Freemasonry’s luciferian “light bearers” was a fairly well-established agenda historically, one which Pope Pius IX called the “Synagogue of Satan.” Pope Leo XIII went so far as to issue a damning encyclical (Humanum Genus) on April 20, 1884 against the efforts to invade and corrupt Roman Catholicism by Freemasons, and yet Leo’s own Secretary of State, Cardinal Mariano Rampolla del Tindaro was later identified as a secret Freemason of the diabolical Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.) sect of whom Satanist Aleister Crowley belonged and later became leader. When Pope Leo passed away in 1903, it was widely anticipated that Rampolla would replace him as pope, and Rampolla did receive the early votes during conclave. Then something extraordinary happened, and the balloting was interrupted when Prince Jan Maurycy Paweł Puzyna de Kosielsko, a Polish Roman Catholic Cardinal from Kraków, rose on behalf of his Sovereign, Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria, and shocked the assembly by declaring in Latin, “…officially and in the name and by the authority of Franz-Josef, Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary, that His Majesty, in virtue of an ancient right and privilege, pronounces the veto of exclusion against my Most Eminent Lord, Cardinal Mariano Rampolla del Tindaro.”[iii] This Jus Exclusivæ (“right of exclusion” or papal veto) was an ancient rule of order claimed by Catholic monarchs to veto a candidate for the papacy. “At times the right was claimed by the French monarch, the Spanish monarch, the Holy Roman Emperor, and the Emperor of Austria. These powers would make known to a papal conclave, through a crown-cardinal, that a certain candidate for election was considered objectionable as a prospective Pope.”[iv] It has since been suggested by some historians that the alert Emperor Franz Joseph knew something of Rampolla’s masonic connection and saved Rome from usurpation. It is also noteworthy that the official Liber LII Manifesto of the O.T.O. BAPHOMET XI° does indeed list Cardinal Rampolla among its members.[v] But was Rampolla just one of many covert Masons? The answer to that question appears to be yes according to experts like the late Canadian naval officer, author, and popular lecturer William James Guy Carr. In addition to his accounts of wartime activity as a Navigating Submarine Officer during World War One, Carr—though a conspiracy theorist—was a noted authority on the history of the Illuminati and its connection to Freemasonry. He chronicled the movement from its founding in 1776 by Adam Weishaupt to its purported penetration of the Vatican. In 1959, Carr published The Red Fog Over America, in which he said:
Weishaupt boasted that the Illuminati would infiltrate into the Vatican and bore from within, until they left it nothing but an empty shell… Since I exposed certain events which indicate that agentur of the Illuminati have infiltrated into the Vatican, I have received a number of letters from priests who have studied in the Vatican… Those who wrote assured me that the fears I express are more than well founded. One priest informed me that the Pope was surrounded by picked “Specialists”, “Experts” and “Advisors” to such an extent that he was little better than a prisoner in his own palace. Another priest informed me of the eternal surveillance exercised over the Pope…those who maintain the surveillance…give him no freedom of action even in the privacy of his own chambers. The priest said ‘Those who exercise this surveillance are all hand-picked members of a certain order and they all come from the same institution…where Weishaupt…conspired.’”[vi]
Carr’s description matches so closely to what Malachi Martin and similar priests have alleged on different occasions concerning a formidable Illuminati-Masonic group inside the Vatican that it is tempting to believe Malachi himself may have been one of Carr’s informants. But was this Illuminated council the unseen hand in Rome that “forced” Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict) and Cardinal Bertone to issue what Antonio Socci thought was astuzia inganno (cunning deception) at Fátima? And would this indicate both the current pope and his Secretary of State are clandestinely committed to, or being forced to go along with, the overarching scheme of a secret order inside the Holy See?
The solidarity between Pope Benedict and Cardinal Bertone goes back a long way and it certainly appears to have continued—at least for the first few years of Benedict’s papacy—in the time following the “Message of Fátima” controversy. After being elected pope in April, 2005 and taking his place as successor of John Paul II as Sovereign of the Vatican City State and leader of the Roman Catholic Church, Ratzinger as “Pope Benedict XVI” quickly appointed Cardinal Bertone to replace Fátima co-conspirator Angelo Sodano as the Cardinal Secretary of State. On April 4, 2007, Benedict also appointed Bertone as his Camerlengo to administrate the duty of the Pope in the case of a vacancy of the papacy. Benedict has since made decisions that indicate Bertone could be (or once was) his choice for successor, and both men have at times appeared to be stacking and massaging the Red Hats in Bertone’s favor for the next (final?) conclave. This was noted in the May 13, 2011 National Catholic Reporter article, “A Triptych on Benedict’s Papacy, and Hints of What Lies Beyond,” when NCR Senior Correspondent John L. Allen Jr. spoke of the shake-up inside the Roman Curia (the Curia is the administrative apparatus of the Vatican and, together with the pope, the central governing body of the Catholic Church) in which Italian Archbishop Giovanni Angelo Becciu was appointed the Substitute for General Affairs by Pope Benedict XVI. Becciu, who replaced Archbishop Fernando Filoni for the job, seemed at first an odd selection to Vatican insiders. “Given how difficult it is to master the role [of Substitute], many observers found it curious that Filoni would be shipped out after less than four years, to be replaced by someone in Becciu who has no previous experience at all working inside the Vatican,” observed the NCR.[vii] But then the nail was hit on the head when the news service added, “When the dust settles, the most obvious beneficiary of these moves would seem to be Italian Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Secretary of State, who will not have to be concerned about the new substitute forming a rival center of power.”[viii] The job of the Substitute for General Affairs has been described as the most complicated and demanding responsibility in the Roman Curia due to the staggering amount of concerns the Substitute must carry on a daily basis. Roughly compared to a White House Chief of Staff, the Substitute meets with the Pontiff usually once per day to administer Vatican affairs and also regularly reports to the Cardinal Secretary of State (currently Cardinal Bertone). The organizational “success or failure of a papacy often rests on his shoulders,” adds the NCR. And those who have handled the office well over the years “have been the stuff of legend: Giovanni Battista Montini, for instance, was the substitute under Pius XII from 1937 to 1953, and went on to become Pope Paul VI; Giovanni Benelli, who was Paul’s own substitute from 1967 to 1977, was widely understood to be the power behind the throne” (emphasis added).[ix]
Of course, just when we thought it couldn’t get any more obvious, another—and this time unprecedented—move to consolidate his power (and which also raises the question of a third contender for the throne of St. Peter) was made by Bertone himself. It followed the October 24, 2011, document, “Toward Reforming the International Financial and Monetary Systems in the Context of a Global Public Authority,” which amounted to a call by the Vatican for a World Political and Financial Authority. Published by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, which is headed by Cardinal Peter Turkson, the media was quick—inside and outside Christianity—to see the dark side of socialism raising its head, not to mention prophetic implications of the paper’s call for a Global Authority seated inside the United Nations. In a different chapter we explain how this new unsettling directive attempts to devise a “moral” mandate for establishing “a global public authority” and “a central world bank” that would oversee individual and world pecuniary institutions through subjugation to a new global power made “at the cost of a gradual, balanced transfer of a part of each nation’s powers to a world authority and to regional authorities”(emphasis added).[xii] The document was addressed at the 2011 G20 Summit in Cannes in comments by President Barack Obama and French President Nicholas Sarkozy, but nothing came of it there due to what Cardinal Bertone did just ten days later. And this is where things start getting interesting, as some soothsayers were already predicting that the author of the document, Peter Turkson of Ghana (Peter the Roman?) could be the next pope, as he is considered papabile by the College of Cardinals.
Following the election of America’s first black president in Obama, analysts around the world began speculating that perhaps Rome would follow suit and roll out the red carpet for a black pope, the first in fifteen hundred years, in somebody like Turkson. Cardinal Francis Arinze, whom Ronald L. Conte Jr. believes will be the next pope and fulfill “The Prophecy of the Popes” by taking the name Pius XIII, is also a black man, an Igbo Nigerian considered papabile since before the 2005 conclave that elected Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI). “The election of Barack Obama as the first African-American US President could pave the way for the election of [a] black Pope, according to a leading black American Catholic,” wrote theTimes Online in 2008. “Wilton Daniel Gregory, 60, the Archbishop of Atlanta, said that in the past Pope Benedict XVI had himself suggested that the election of a black pontiff would ‘send a splendid signal to the world’ about the universal Church.”[xiii] The Associated Press agreed. “The pope has appointed Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana to head the Vatican’s justice and peace office, a high-profile post that cements his reputation as a possible future papal candidate… Turkson told reporters there was no reason there couldn’t be a black pope, particularly after Barack Obama was elected U.S. president.”[xiv] Given that Turkson is popular in some circles, here is how the National Catholic Reporter heralded the release of his document on Reforming the International Financial and Monetary Systems in their October 28, 2011, headline: A Papal Contender Grabs the Spotlight:
Rome saw a striking coincidence this week, which could be either simple luck or a sign of things to come. There were two big-ticket Vatican news flashes, Monday’s note on reform of the international economy and Thursday’s summit of religious leaders in Assisi. In both cases, the same Vatican official was a prime mover: Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.
Turkson, still young in church terms at 63, was the chief organizer of the Assisi gathering, just as he was the top signatory on the document blasting “neo-liberal” ideologies and calling for a “true world political authority” to regulate the economy. During Vatican press conferences to present both, Turkson was the star attraction each time.
Can anyone say, papabile?[xv]
Only a week following theNational Catholic Reportercelebration, however, and only ten days after Turkson released his document calling for a global financial authority, an emergency summit at the Vatican was called by…you guessed it…the Secretariat of State—Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. And this time he wasn’t taking any prisoners. Bertone blasted the document by Turkson and laid down a new set of laws. From that day forward, he ordered, any new Vatican text would have to be authorized in advance by himself. The popular Chiesa News in Rome said of the power play:
Precisely when the G20 summit in Cannes was coming to its weak and uncertain conclusion, on that same Friday, November 4 at the Vatican, a smaller summit convened in the secretariat of state… In the hot seat was the [Turkson] document on the global financial crisis released ten days earlier by the pontifical council for justice and peace… The secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, complained that he had not known about it until the last moment. And precisely for this reason he had called that meeting in the secretariat of state. The conclusion of the summit was that this binding order would be transmitted to all of the offices of the curia: from that point on, nothing in writing would be released unless it had been inspected and authorized by the secretariat of state.[xvi]
While Bertone convinced some Vatican watchers that his overreaching motives had to do with protecting the Holy See from confusion by claiming that he had been in the dark and thus side-swiped by the release of the document (a case Chiesa News thoroughly debunked), others saw in it another giant step in Bertone carefully solidifying his powerbase in Rome. They also imagined that old enemy the Freemasons having something to do with it. “It would seem that the dark forces in the Vatican are making their moves to seize control of the Catholic Church,” wrote Catholic Jew Aron Ben Gilad. “They are using the recent document of the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace on the global financial crisis as the excuse to seize autocratic control of all the congregations of the curia and putting them under the control of Cardinal Bertone and the Vatican’s Secretariat of State. Whatever the merits or demerits of this document is not the important question, but its use as an instrument for ecclesiastical masonry to take control of the Roman Curia” (emphasis added).[xvii] Top Vatican watcher and journalist Andrea Tornielli had stated as much earlier, documenting how Bertone had been consolidating his influence in the Vatican:
…through a number of actions: he appointed bishops who are well known to him and friends in key roles, especially in positions involving the management and control of the Holy See’s finances. The last individual appointed, was the Bishop of Alexandria Giuseppe Versaldinew, to the position of President of the Prefecture for Economic Affairs of the Holy See… On the other hand, Bertone has done away with prelates who had moved against him in some way or another, such as Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, who had left the Government office to become Nuncio (ambassador) to the United States, or Bishop Vincenzo di Mauro, who left the Office of Economic Affairs to become Archbishop of Vigevano.[xviii]
OTTAWA—In an important decision that upheld the main anti-hate provisions in Saskatchewan’s human rights law, Canada’s top court ruled vitriolic anti-gay speech in flyers distributed by a Christian activist is not protected by the Charter.
In doing so, the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously struck down a small part of the province’s human rights code as an infringement on free speech and religion. It removed vague wording that prohibited the distribution of material that “ridicules, belittles or otherwise affronts the dignity” of people on the basis of their sexual orientation.
However, the high court, including Chief Beverly McLachlin, gave broad endorsement to the law’s equality protections for a vulnerable minority against the spreading of “hatred.”
Justice Marshall Rothstein, writing for the 6-0 panel, found two of four flyers handed out by William Whatcott in 2001 and 2002 in Regina and Saskatoon crossed the line into “harmful” discourse, but two did not.
On that basis the court trimmed an original order against Whatcott to compensate the complainants from $17,500 to $7,500.
The ruling was denounced by the man at the center, William Whatcott of Weyburn, Sask., as rubbish.
Whatcott said the ruling criminalizes a large part of Christian speech on homosexuality and morality. Unapologetic, he suggested he may put out another flyer on expressing that viewpoint and it will be written in what he calls his usual blunt and forthright manner.
Whatcott spent several years in Toronto about 15 years ago, when he led anti-abortion demonstrations in front of Jarvis Collegiate and ran as a fringe candidate in the 1999 provincial election.
The court said two of Whatcott’s hand-delivered leaflets had “hallmarks” of hatred, targeting gays as a menace that could threaten the safety and well-being of others, referring to respected sources like the Bible to lend credibility, and using “vilifying and derogatory representations to create a tone of hatred.”
“It delegitimizes homosexuals by referring to them as filthy or dirty sex addicts and by comparing them to pedophiles, a traditionally reviled group in society,” wrote Rothstein.
The court said the law’s purpose is to “prevent discrimination by curtailing certain types of public expression” but it is tailored, and does not ban private expression of views.
While acknowledging it is a limit on free speech and expressions of religious belief, the court said it struck “an appropriate balance” with other Charter values, namely “a commitment to equality and respect for group identity and the inherent dignity owed to all human beings.”
The decision was hailed by advocates of equality rights for gays and lesbians and other vulnerable minority groups, as well as by those who believe it sent a strong signal that Canadian law — whether human rights acts or criminal codes — can be used to counter hateful speech and propaganda likely to cause harm.
“The court wisely held that connecting speech to morality or public debate doesn’t immunize it from restrictions on hate speech,” said Robert Leckey, president of Egale Canada, the advocacy group for gay and lesbian rights that had intervened in the case.
B’nai Brith lawyer Marvin Kurz said the ruling targets only speech that is “the worst of the worst.”
“It doesn’t matter whether I’m offended by what Mr. Whatcott says,” said Kurz. “The question is whether there’s going to be harm.”
Ontario’s human rights code does not have the exact same ban on hateful publications or flyers that Saskatchewan had. Kurz said Wednesday’s ruling nevertheless counters a backlash that had been growing against the use of human rights laws and solidifies overall efforts to fight harmful speech, whether it be anti-gay or anti-Semitic.
Kurz added the court did not establish a hierarchy of rights, or conclude that equality rights should trump freedom of religion and free speech.
“What it says is religion isn’t the only right, and religion cannot be used as a cloak for illegal activity; religion cannot be used as a cloak for hate.”
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, which intervened in support of Whatcott’s right to state his religious views freely without limit by the state, offered a muted reaction in a written statement noting that at least the high court made clearer what it does not consider hate speech.
The ruling is in line with a trio of decisions in 1990 (Keegstra, Taylor and Andrews) that saw the Supreme Court of Canada uphold various Canadian Criminal Code and human rights code prohibitions against hate speech.
(Reuters) - The U.N. nuclear watchdog raised pressure on Iran to finally address suspicions that it has sought to design an atomic bomb, calling for swift inspector access to a military base where relevant explosives tests are believed to have been carried out.
Airing frustration at the lack of progress in his agency's investigation, Yukiya Amano told its 35-nation governing board on Monday that negotiations with Iran must "proceed with a sense of urgency" and be focused on achieving concrete results soon.
Because Iran is not providing the necessary cooperation with inspectors, the International Atomic Energy Agency "cannot conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities", said Amano, the IAEA's director-general.
His message that Iran must act now was echoed by the United States and its top Gulf ally Saudi Arabia. They declared on Monday that separate but related talks between Tehran and world powers on a wider diplomatic solution to the nuclear dispute could not go on indefinitely.
Israel, Iran's arch-enemy and convinced Tehran is secretly trying to develop a nuclear weapon, has grown impatient with the protracted talks and has threatened pre-emptive war against Tehran if it deems diplomacy ultimately futile.
"There is a finite amount of time," Secretary of State John Kerry, in Riyadh, said of the talks between a group of six world powers and Tehran, Saudi Arabia's main regional adversary.
In Washington, Vice President Joe Biden told America's biggest pro-Israel lobbying group in a speech that President Barack Obama is "not bluffing" about U.S. determination to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.
"We're not looking for war. We're ready to negotiate peacefully. But all options including military force are on the table. While that window is closing, we believe there is still time and space (for diplomacy)," Biden said.
But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, addressing the same gathering, said neither diplomacy nor sanctions had stopped Iran from pursuing its nuclear ambitions and a clear and credible military threat was now needed.
Iran was upbeat last week after talks with the powers in Kazakhstan about its nuclear work ended with an agreement to meet again. But Western officials said it had yet to take concrete steps to ease their fears about its atomic ambitions.
The United States, China, France, Russia, Britain and Germany offered modest relief from economic sanctions in return for Iran scaling back its most sensitive nuclear activity, but made clear that they expected no immediate breakthrough.
The IAEA has been trying separately for more than a year to persuade Iran to cooperate with a long-stalled agency investigation into suspected nuclear weapons research by Tehran, which denies any such activity.
The U.N. agency's priority is to be able to inspect Parchin, a sprawling military site southeast of the capital Tehran, where it believes Iran built an explosives chamber to carry out tests, possibly a decade ago. Iran denies this.
The IAEA has been asking for Parchin access for over a year.
PARCHIN ACCESS WOULD BE "POSITIVE STEP"
Iran says it first needs to agree with the IAEA on how the inquiry is to be conducted before allowing any Parchin visit. But Amano underlined that access should be granted in any case, even before a deal on investigation ground rules was reached.
He told the IAEA governors that he was "once again unable to report any progress on the clarification of outstanding issues, including those relating to the possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear program".
Some diplomats and analysts say Iran is using the meetings with the IAEA merely for leverage in its negotiations with world powers which, unlike the IAEA, have the power to ease sanctions that they have recently tightened on the major oil producer.
"Providing access to the Parchin site would be a positive step which would help to demonstrate Iran's willingness to engage with the agency on the substance of our concerns," Amano said, according to a copy if his speech.
Western officials accuse Iran of cleansing the Parchin site of any incriminating evidence of illicit nuclear-related activity, a charge the Islamic Republic has dismissed.
Citing satellite imagery, they say Iran now seems to be rebuilding the specific part of Parchin that inspectors want to see, after last year razing several smaller buildings there.
Amano also said Iran was continuing to construct a research reactor at Arak, which Western experts say could offer the Islamic state a second way of producing material for a nuclear bomb, if it decided to embark on such a course.
"Iran has stated that the reactor is expected to begin operating in the first quarter of 2014," Amano said.
Western worries about Iran are focused largely on uranium enrichment plants at Natanz and Fordow, as such material refined to a high level can provide the fissile core of an atomic bomb.
But experts say Arak could yield plutonium for bombs if the spent fuel is reprocessed, something Iran has said it has no intention of doing.
Iran, a leading oil producer, says its nuclear program is entirely peaceful and aimed primarily at producing electricity.
But its refusal to curb atomic activity which can have both civilian and military purposes and its lack of full openness with U.N. inspectors have drawn increasingly tough Western sanctions targeting its lifeblood oil exports.
WASHINGTON, March 7 (By Maria Young for RIA Novosti) The United States vowed to aggressively defend itself and its allies after North Korea furiously threatened a pre-emptive nuclear strike against the US in the face of sanctions handed down by the United Nations (UN) Security Council on Thursday.
“I can tell you that the United States is fully capable of defending against any North Korean ballistic missile attack,” said White House press secretary Jay Carney to reporters on Thursday, adding that Pyongyang “will achieve nothing by threats or provocations which will only further isolate North Korea and undermine international efforts to achieve peace and stability.”
The threat – in which North Korea referred to the sanctions as part of a “war of aggression” led by the United States – came from a spokesman for the North Korean Foreign Ministry immediately before the Security Council voted on the sanctions.
In a statement carried by North Korea’s official news agency, the spokesman said, “Since the United States is about to ignite a nuclear war, we will be exercising our right to pre-emptive nuclear attack against the headquarters of the aggressor in order to protect our supreme interest."
Such inflammatory rhetoric is not uncommon from North Korea, but Thursday’s comments were among the most specific threats of a nuclear strike by any country. A nuclear attack on the United States would be nothing short of suicidal, said the new chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
"I do not think the regime in Pyongyang wants to commit suicide, but that, as they must surely know, would be the result of any attack on the United States," said Sen. Bob Menendez on Thursday as the UN vote was underway.
“There should be no doubt about our determination, willingness, and capability to neutralize and counter any threat that North Korea may present,” he said.
While most US experts do not believe North Korea has the technological capacity to carry out a nuclear attack on Washington, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the United States has no choice but the take such comments seriously.
“You have to take a government at its word when it makes these kinds of threats,” she said at a press briefing on Thursday.
“This kind of rhetoric is not surprising, it’s not new, and unfortunately this regime has regularly missed its opportunity to improve its relations with the outside world,” she added.
The UN sanctions were handed down unanimously by the Security Council in response to a third nuclear test by North Korea on February 12, a move that violated UN resolutions.
The sanctions will increase scrutiny of suspicious North Korean sea and air cargo shipments, make it tougher for North Korea to acquire materials for its weapons program, and clamp down on financial freedoms and luxury goods such as high-priced cars and yachts.
“These sanctions will bite and bite hard,” said Susan Rice, the US Ambassador to the UN.
Russia, which currently holds the UN Security Council’s presidency, issued a statement Thursday expressing hope that Pyongyang would take the new sanctions seriously and halt further nuclear and ballistic missile development.
“We expect that all sides involved in the regional affairs would not take any action that could aggravate the situation on the Korean Peninsula and in northeastern Asia,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
North Korean leaders are also upset with joint military training drills underway between the United States and South Korea, which they have suggested are tantamount to an “open declaration of war.”
"The US is massively deploying armed forces for aggression… under the smokescreen of 'annual drills'," said the North’s Foreign Ministry spokesman on Thursday.
Both the United States and South Korea have characterized the training drills as defensive in nature.