News / Middle East

Iran Nuclear Dispute Enters New Phase

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, right, is escorted by technicians during a tour of Tehran's research reactor center in northern Tehran, February 15, 2012.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, right, is escorted by technicians during a tour of Tehran's research reactor center in northern Tehran, February 15, 2012.
Al Pessin

The international dispute with Iran over its nuclear program is entering a new phase, with Iran both calling cooperation and also refusing to allow U.N. inspectors into a key facility.

Iranian nuclear facilities are at the heart of the dispute. These sophisticated centrifuges enrich uranium, and if uranium is enriched to a high enough degree, it can be used in nuclear weapons.

Iran prevented inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency from visiting such a facility last week.

“Unfortunately, we could not get agreement,  so we could not get access and we could not finalize a way forward,” said Herman Nackaerts, IAEA Deputy Director General and head of the Department of Safeguards.

Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes. Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi says countries that don't believe this have a choice.

“One way is engagement, cooperation and interaction and the other is confrontation and conflict. The Islamic Republic of Iran, confident of the peaceful nature of its nuclear program, has always insisted on the first alternative,” he said.

But the IAEA does not agree, issuing a report describing, among other things, the potential military uses of Iran’s nuclear program.

And senior Western officials note that previous talks have failed, and say Iran must make certain commitments if it wants to move toward new ones.

"Any conversation with Iran has to begin with a discussion of its nuclear program," said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. "And second, we must be assured that if we make a decision to go forward, we see a sustained effort by Iran to work until we have reached an outcome that has Iran coming back into compliance with their international obligations."

That would mean the kind full inspections Iran has so far refused to allow.

Iran expert Mark Fitzpatrick says the pattern of offering cooperation and then refusing to provide it reflects the trend of hard-liners in Tehran dominating more moderate elements.

“The fact that the IAEA got nothing is an indication of disputes in Tehran, with the foreign office on one hand, hard-liners on the other," he said. "And the hard-liners again won out, denied any cooperation with the IAEA.”

But former top State Department Iran official Dennis Ross told VOA’s Persian News Network international sanctions may be beginning to change the calculations of even Iran’s staunchest hard-line leaders.

“The context requires applying pressure, but it also requires leaving the Iranian leadership a way out. If they want to find a way to relieve the pressure, you have to give them the chance to do so,” he said.

That’s what western officials are preparing to do, but they are so far not convinced that Iranian officials are really ready to change their policies.

Join the conversation on our social journalism site -
Middle East Voices
. Follow our Middle East reports on
Twitter and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid