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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid