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 Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory 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.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid