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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs