News / Middle East

    Iran Orders Boost in Uranium Enrichment

    Iran says it needs uranium enriched to 20 percent to fuel a medical research reactor

    Elizabeth Arrott

    Iran says it has informed the U.N. nuclear agency it plans to further enrich its uranium in defiance of international demands that it stop.  Iran's processing program would likely need reconfiguring first, prompting speculation the announcement may have more to do with nuclear negotiations with the West than imminent enrichment.

    Iran's envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency says he gave the U.N. watchdog notice of Tehran's plans Monday, in an apparent formal rejection of a U.N. plan to have the uranium enriched abroad.

    The move follows an announcement by Iran's nuclear chief, Ali Akbar Salehi, that Iran will enrich some of its current stockpile to 20 percent, starting Tuesday.

    Speaking to Iran's Arabic al-Alam television, Salehi said Iran would start the process in the presence of inspectors and observers from the International Atomic Energy Agency.

    President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad had ordered the further enrichment in a televised address, one of the many varying, unofficial responses Iranian officials have given to the U.N. plan.

    The IAEA wants Iran to send most of its uranium stockpile to Russia and France to boost it to 20 percent and turn it into fuel rods.  Such rods would be very difficult to enrich even more, for example to the 90 percent needed to make nuclear weapons.

    If Iran can manage to push the uranium to 20 percent on its own, and it is not clear that it can, Western scientists say it could also likely enrich it to weapons grade.

    Iran denies its nuclear program has a military component, and says the enrichment is for fuel for a Tehran reactor that makes medical isotopes.  It worries it would not get the uranium back if it sends it overseas.

    Nuclear chief Salehi said Iran would readily stop the enrichment if the West were to give it the fuel.

    Salehi told al-Alam the offer is still open and that once Iran receives the fuel, it will stop the enrichment.

    Western countries, in particular the United States, say the original deal was not meant to be modified and are pushing for further U.N. sanctions.

    U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates says there is still time for sanctions to work.

    Meanwhile, with tensions over the standoff rising, Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi said Iran has begun production of two types of unmanned aircraft with surveillance and attack capabilities.

    Vahidi said the drones can carry out assaults with high precision.

    Iranian Air Force commander Hesmatollah Kassiri was quoted as saying Iran is working on a new air-defense system.   The commander said Russia has been slow to deliver its S-300 missiles as agreed, but Iran's domestically-built system will be as powerful or even stronger.

    Iran frequently announces major advances in its military, nuclear and space programs.  The latest advances have not been independently confirmed.

    You May Like

    Rolling Thunder Tribute to US Military Turns into a Trump Rally

    Half-million motorcycles are expected to rumble Sunday afternoon from Pentagon to Vietnam War Memorial for rally in event group calls Ride for Freedom

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    Video Canine Reading Buddies Help Students With Literacy

    Idea behind reading program is that sharing book with nonjudgmental companion boosts students' confidence and helps instill love of reading

    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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora