News / Middle East

Iran's Supreme Leader Calls for More Nuclear Enrichment Capacity

FILE - Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
FILE - Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Reuters

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Iran would need to significantly increase its uranium enrichment capacity, highlighting a gap in positions between Tehran and world powers as they hold talks aimed at clinching a nuclear accord.

Iran and six major powers — the United States, Russia, France, Germany, China and Britain — have less than two weeks to bridge wide differences on the future scope of Iran's enrichment program and other issues if they are to meet a self-imposed July 20 deadline for a deal.

They resumed talks in Vienna last week and their negotiators continued meetings in the Austrian capital on Tuesday, but there was no immediate sign of any substantive progress.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said in Paris that none of the major outstanding issues had been agreed upon, and that the United States wanted foreign ministers to join the negotiations.

Iran's capacity to refine uranium lies at the center of the nuclear stalemate and is seen as the hardest issue to resolve.

Iran insists it needs to expand its capacity to refine uranium to fuel a planned network of atomic energy plants. The powers say Tehran must sharply reduce that capacity to prevent the country being able to quickly produce a nuclear bomb using uranium enriched to a far higher degree.

"Their aim is that we accept a capacity of 10,000 separative work units [SWUs], which is equivalent to 10,000 centrifuges of the older type that we already have. Our officials say we need 190,000 SWU. Perhaps this is not a need this year or in two years or five years, but this is the country's absolute need," Khamenei said in a statement published late on Monday.

An SWU is a measurement of the effort necessary for the separation of isotopes of uranium. Western experts say Iran's current centrifuges have a very low enrichment capacity compared with the most modern technology in the world. The Islamic Republic says it is developing new, more efficient models.

Iran says its program is for civilian purposes such as electricity generation and denies having any ambitions to build a nuclear weapon.

Ending the decade-long dispute with Iran is seen as central to defusing tensions and averting the danger of a major Middle East war.

A Western diplomat made clear the uphill task negotiations face if they are to hammer out an agreement: "We're still far from a deal... [However], the deadline is July 20 and that's what we're working towards."

Iran expert Ali Vaez of the International Crisis Group said the negotiations were now at a precarious stage. "This has once again turned into a contest of wills."

Hardliners

Last week, other Western diplomats said Iran had reduced demands for the size of its future nuclear enrichment program in the negotiations, although Western governments were urging Tehran to compromise further. They did not give details.

But Mark Fitzpatrick, director of the non-proliferation program at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) think-tank, said Khamenei's statement "confirms what I have suspected: that although Iranian negotiators have leeway on some issues, such as transparency and the time frame for lifting sanctions, they are not authorized to accept cutbacks to the enrichment program."

Iran now has more than 19,000 installed enrichment centrifuges, mostly old-generation IR-1 machines, with about 10,000 of them operating to increase the concentration of uranium's fissile isotope U-235.

Mohammad Ali Shabani, a Tehran-based political analyst, said Khamenei's statement was in line with what Iran's negotiators have been saying for months in Vienna.

"The open timeline, however, allows enough flexibility for the two sides to come to consensus," he said.

In defiance of Western pressure, Iran has expanded centrifuge numbers sharply over the last decade until it stopped doing that under a Nov. 24 interim deal agreed with world powers in exchange for limited sanctions relief.

Iran wants an end to sanctions, which have stifled its economy and hindered oil exports. But Khamenei, ultimate arbiter on all major decisions in Iran, said the country "should plan for the future, supposing the enemy won't ease on sanctions."

Khamenei said the idea of shutting down the underground Fordow enrichment plant was "laughable," his website said.

You May Like

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Video US Landmark Pushes Endangered Species

People gathered in streets, on rooftops in Manhattan to see image highlights that covered 33 floors of Empire State Building More

World’s Widest Suspension Bridge Being Built Over Bosphorus

Once built, Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge will span 2 kilometers with about 1.5 kilometers over water, and will be longest suspension bridge in world carrying rail system More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
July 09, 2014 1:07 PM
Yeah, more humiliation, isn't it? When USA surreptitiously removed the agenda of aggression on the table and continued to vow that all options were still there, Khamenei was only giggling at it all. Now he comes with the joker, an ace up his sleeve, and the gangling yuppy president will dance to the podium and once again address the Americans. What will he say after July 20 when the Iranians end up rubbishing the IAEA (and/or P5+1) deal? Someone wants to be popular for pulling America out of war zones, closing facilities used to incarcerate terrorists, bulk from wars in Syria, Iraq as they bomb and kill diplomats in Libya, while flexing muscle to go into nuclear war with USSR over Ukraine, the bandwagon way, think Americans are enjoying the naivety of it all. Now, if a no-war policy has dropped the popularity of the president, and the healthcare project does not become a hit as it was proposed to be, what follows next? The failure of this negotiation will surely do more blow to the president's rating.

"Iran must not be allowed to produce a nuclear weapon". This has been the policy of USA; will one man's desire to have one of his own (islamist country) listed among the nuclear powers in the world becloud USA's policy aimed at preventing a nuclear terrorism from joining the current terrorist attrition aimed at USA? Let us fully understand that failure to reach a compromise by target date 20 July 2014 will set the stage for nuclear arms proliferation. It is at the same time, directly or indirectly, setting the stage for the dreaded military option - whether it remains on USA's negotiation table or not. For there are people to whom Iran's nuclear capability simply translates to existential threat. To ignore it is to accept another holocaust, a death warrant, a suicide! While six nations have been involved in the negotiations with Iran, one country stands out as the pivotal, and the success or failure of it will be attributable to the one country that should take the lead in these matters but has become a laugh to those who know better since the leader does not know his way.

by: 1worldnow from: Earth
July 09, 2014 2:00 AM
They will have a nuke soon, no doubt. If only Obama can stop talking, and talking, and talking, and selfies, and more talking....and just a few more selfies........and check the popularity polls (to see if he is still the cool prez).....maybe he can see that this is serious..........FOR THE ENTIRE WORLD!!!!!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs