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

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy 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.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid