U.S. says it has 5,113 nuclear warheads

WASHINGTON — The United States has 5,113 nuclear warheads in its stockpile and “several thousand” more retired warheads awaiting the junk pile, the Pentagon said Monday in an unprecedented accounting of a secretive arsenal born in the Cold War and now shrinking rapidly.

The Obama administration disclosed the size of its atomic stockpile going back to 1962 as part of a campaign to get other nuclear nations to be more forthcoming, and to improve its bargaining position against the prospect of a nuclear Iran.

“We think it is in our national security interest to be as transparent as we can be about the nuclear program of the United States,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told reporters at the United Nations, where she addressed a conference on containing the spread of nuclear weapons.

The United States previously has regarded such details as top secret.

The figure includes both “strategic,” or long-range weapons, and those intended for use at shorter range.

The Pentagon said the stockpile of 5,113 as of September 2009 represents a 75 percent reduction since 1989.

A rough count of deployed and reserve warheads has been known for years, so the Pentagon figures do not tell nuclear experts much they did not already know.

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US confronts its reputation abroad

US lifts travel warning for Syria

The US Department of State has lifted its advisories warning American travelers of security concerns in Syria.

“After carefully assessing the current situation in Syria, we determined that circumstances didn’t merit extending the travel warning,” said Tracy Roberts Pounds, a spokeswoman at the US Embassy in Damascus.

Though Washington tries to boost ties with a country viewed as a key to peace in the region, Syria remains on the US-made list of the “countries sponsoring terrorism,” a designation made in 1979.

US observers have long insisted that the so-called US list of the states sponsoring terrorism, which included Iran, Syria, Cuba, and North Korea, is a political tool to punish states that do not submit to US regional interests.

The country also remains under US sanctions, first imposed by former US President George W. Bush and renewed by President Barack Obama in May.

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Commander urges Majlis to pass legislation on modern espionage

TEHRAN — Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri has called on the Majlis to adopt a legislation on how to counter the modern methods of espionage.

Speaking at a gathering of the armed forces personnel on Saturday, Jazayeri said individuals who have links with some foreign radio and television networks are clearly spying on Iran in a modern way.

He said most of these networks are affiliated to the U.S., Britain and Israel.

Why the relevant bodies do not deal with these people and if there is a need for related legislations, why the Majlis does not legislate on the issue, he asked.

Certain people, who are taking the most advantage of the country’s ‘free and secure’ atmosphere are providing Israeli media outlets with deceptive information about the country as part of a plot to topple the Islamic Republic’s system, he said.

The enemy is seriously making efforts to sabotage the Islamic system, he noted

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Tehran blast kills nuclear physics scientist

An Iranian nuclear physics scientist has been killed in a remote-controlled bomb attack in the Iranian capital, Tehran.

Dr. Massoud Ali-Mohammadi, a lecturer at the University of Tehran and a staunch supporter of the Islamic Revolution, was killed in booby-trapped motorbike blast on Tuesday.

The explosion took place near the professor’s home in Gheytarieh neighborhood, in northern Tehran.

Iran’s police and security bodies are investigating the terrorist case to identify those behind it.

Press TV correspondent Amir Mehdi Kazemi, reporting from the scene of the assassination, quoted security officials as saying that the equipment and system of the bomb used in the attack had been related to a number of foreign intelligence agencies, particularly Israel’s Mossad.

Meanwhile, Tehran’s Prosecutor Abbas Jafari-Dolatabadi confirmed the assassination of the university lecturer on Tuesday morning and said that he taught neutron nuclear physics at the University of Tehran.

“No suspect has been arrested yet,” he told the Iranian Students News Agency.

He added that Ali-Mohammadi was killed when a motorbike parked near his car exploded.

The terrorist attack came as Shahram Amiri, an Iranian nuclear scientist, went missing in the Saudi holy city of Medina while on a pilgrimage visit in June 2009.

In December, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehman-Parast said Tehran had information that authorities in Riyadh had delivered Amiri to the United States.

He added that Amiri is among eleven Iranian nationals held in detention in US prisons.

It seems the kidnap and assassination of Iranian scientists is on the agenda of the United States.

Congressman seeking to bar Iranians from US

A US congressman has announced his plans to reintroduce the Stop Terrorists Entry Program (STEP) Act into Congress, which calls for the deportation of most Iranians without permanent resident status.

The STEP Act, a bill that was originally presented in 2003, would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to bar citizens of Iran, Cuba, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen from entering the United States.

Rep. James Gresham Barrett says he is reintroducing the STEP Act in response to the Fort Hood shooting, carried out by a US citizen, and the Christmas Day attempt to blow up an airplane over Detroit, attempted by a Nigerian national.

If passed, the bill would deport all Iranians on student visas, temporary work visas, exchange visas, and tourist visas from the United States within 60 days.

It would also make it illegal for Iranians to travel to the United States, though some exceptions could be made after “extensive federal screening.”