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

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land In French Port

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching 'Fortress Europe' More

Video Westgate Mall Attack Survivors Confront Painful Memories

On anniversary of terror attack, survivors discuss how they have coped with trauma they experienced that day More

New Hints That Dark Matter Exists

New evidence from International Space Station hints at existence of dark matter and dark energy 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.
Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calaisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 19, 2014 5:04 PM
The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video CERN Accelerator Back in Business

The long upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider is over. The scientific instrument responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson -- the so-called "God particle" -- is being brought up to speed in time for this month's 60th anniversary of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN. Physicists hope the accelerator will help them uncover more secrets about the origins of the universe. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid