News / Middle East

IAEA: Iran Puts Brakes on Nuclear Expansion Under Rouhani

File - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani addresses a high-level meeting on Nuclear Disarmament during the 68th United Nations General Assembly, Sept. 26, 2013. File - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani addresses a high-level meeting on Nuclear Disarmament during the 68th United Nations General Assembly, Sept. 26, 2013.
x
File - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani addresses a high-level meeting on Nuclear Disarmament during the 68th United Nations General Assembly, Sept. 26, 2013.
File - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani addresses a high-level meeting on Nuclear Disarmament during the 68th United Nations General Assembly, Sept. 26, 2013.
Reuters
Since Hassan Rouhani became president, Iran has halted a rapid expansion of its uranium enrichment capacity, a U.N. inspection report showed on Thursday, in a potential boost for diplomacy to end Tehran's nuclear dispute with the West.
 
The quarterly report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) also said no further major components had been added to a potential plutonium-producing reactor since August.
 
The marked slowdown in the growth of activities of possible use in developing nuclear bombs may be intended to back up Rouhani's warmer tone towards the West after years of worsening confrontation, and strengthen Tehran's hand in negotiations with world powers due to resume on Nov. 20.
 
Iran stopped increasing its capacity to refine uranium - which can fuel nuclear power plants but also bombs if processed much more - “when their team changed” in August, a senior diplomat said, referring to Rouhani and his administration.
 
But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - who strongly opposes any deal with Iran short of dismantling its enrichment program - said he was “not impressed”.
 
Israel, believed to be the Middle East's sole nuclear-armed power, has long warned it could use force to prevent Iran from gaining an atomic bomb.
 
“I am not impressed with reports that we hear that Iran has not expanded its nuclear facilities and the reason for that is they don't need to. They've got enough facilities, enough centrifuges to develop and to complete the fissile material which is at the core of an atomic bomb,” Netanyahu said.
 
The Arak reactor, which Iran previously said it would start up in the first quarter of 2014 but later postponed, is of great concern for Western powers as it could yield weapons-grade plutonium once it is operating. It was a major sticking point in talks between Iran and the powers in Geneva last week.
 
Iran has “more or less frozen” construction of the heavy water reactor, the diplomat, familiar with the report, said.
 
The quarterly IAEA document was the first that included developments only since Rouhani took office on Aug. 3, prompting a diplomatic opening during which Iran and six major powers have made progress towards a possible nuclear deal.
 
Still below Israeli "redline"
 
It also showed that Iran's stockpile of higher-grade enriched uranium had risen by about 5 percent to 196 kg (431 pounds) since August, largely due to a temporary halt in converting the material into reactor fuel.
 
But the amount of uranium gas enriched to a fissile concentration of 20 percent still remained below the roughly 250 kg (550 pounds) needed for a bomb if processed further - an amount that Israel has indicated is a “red line” that could trigger military action.
 
Iran's higher-grade enrichment is controversial as it is a relatively short technical step to ramp it up to the 90 percent required for making a nuclear warhead. Iran says it needs the material to fuel a medical research reactor.
 
Tehran denies Western and Israeli accusations that it is seeking nuclear weapons capability, saying it is enriching uranium only for peaceful energy. But its refusal so far to curb its nuclear program, or open it up to unfettered IAEA inspections, has drawn tough sanctions that have severely damaged the OPEC giant's oil-dependent economy.
 
The IAEA said Iran had installed only four first-generation centrifuges - machines used to refine uranium - at its Natanz plant since August, making a total of 15,240. In the previous three-month period, May-August, it put in place an additional 1,800. Not all of the installed centrifuges are operating.
 
“Adding four means adding basically nothing. There is absolutely no technical reason. Clearly it is a choice not to increase the number of centrifuges,” the senior diplomat said.
 
The report also said Iran had not installed any more advanced centrifuges, which can refine uranium must faster than the breakdown-prone IR-1 model and have also fanned concern in the West.
 
Rouhani succeeded hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in August, promising to try to settle the nuclear row and ease sanctions.
 
Negotiations between Iran and six powers - the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China - are scheduled to resume next week.
 
The powers want Iran to halt its most sensitive nuclear work and take other measures in exchange for limited sanctions relief as part of a confidence-building deal that would buy time for talks on a more far-reaching settlement.

You May Like

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Change Iran Now from: USA
November 16, 2013 9:32 PM
U.S. government should take a “distrust an verify” approach with the Iranians, continuing to put pressure on the Iranian regime through sanctions until Iran’s enrichment and reprocessing facilities are completely and verifiably dismantled.


by: Kehinde Philip from: Nigeria
November 15, 2013 4:39 AM
Israel should not worry,. We are watching. God of. Israel is there for Israel. Concerning nuc if Iran tries that becuase of Isreal they are just digging their grave. Let Israel go bacl to the Bible, Let Iran go back to the Bible before they. start book of Ezikiael 38vs1to the end. We are. serving the God of Israel (JESUS CHRIST ) He never fail because He never fail us the Israel of Nigeria as He did not fail our father. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Israel dont worry.


by: Anonymous
November 14, 2013 9:41 PM
If Iran was smart it would do everything by the book correctly and make peace with the world and become a major travel destination. I would love to visit there if it was safe and had good human rights records.


by: M H Mousavi from: somewhere
November 14, 2013 4:12 PM
if you believe that... than you have no clue of the US/Israel power of persuasion... the Ayatollahs know which line not to cross... or they will be selling tickets in an Iranian public urinals... at least you know the Iranians are smarter than the Arabs...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid