News / Middle East

UN Agency Sees No Big Change in Iran's Nuclear Work

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Yukiya Amano talks to journalists after arriving at the Vienna International Airport in Schwechat, Nov. 12, 2013.
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Yukiya Amano talks to journalists after arriving at the Vienna International Airport in Schwechat, Nov. 12, 2013.
Reuters
The head of the U.N. nuclear agency said on Wednesday he saw “no radical change” in Iran's nuclear program in the past three months, broadly covering the period since relative moderate Hassan Rouhani became president.
 
Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told Reuters that the Islamic Republic was continuing its most sensitive nuclear activity, enrichment of uranium to a fissile concentration of 20 percent.
 
But his comments suggested that Iran during the August-November period had also not sharply expanded its uranium enrichment work, which Tehran says is peaceful but the West fears could be used to develop nuclear weapons.
 
In addition, Amano said Iran still had “quite a lot to do” in order to complete the Arak research reactor, a plant which is of deep concern to the West as it can produce plutonium, another potential atomic bomb fuel, once it is operating.
 
The IAEA is expected to issue its next quarterly report on Iran - a document keenly scrutinized by Western governments - on Thursday or Friday this week. It will be the first that only covers developments after Rouhani took office.
 
“I can say that enrichment activities are ongoing ... no radical change is reported to me,” Amano, a veteran Japanese diplomat, said in an interview in his office on the 28th floor of the IAEA's headquarters in Vienna.
 
He spoke two days after Iran agreed to give his inspectors access to two nuclear-related facilities as part of a cooperation pact that aims to allay international concern about the country's nuclear program.
 
Amano said the agreement was an important first step towards clarifying outstanding issues between the U.N. agency and Tehran, including suspicions that Iran has carried out atomic bomb research, a charge Tehran denies.
 
Iran rejects Western accusations that it is seeking the capability to make nuclear weapons. But its refusal so far to curb its program and lack of full openness with U.N. anti-proliferation inspectors have drawn tough Western sanctions.
 
Rouhani, a pragmatist, succeeded conservative hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in August promising to try to settle the decade-old nuclear dispute and secure an easing of sanctions that have severely hurt Iran's oil-dependent economy.
 
No enrichment halt
 
Iran and six world powers - the United States, France, Germany, Russia, Britain and China - edged close to a preliminary nuclear accord during negotiations at the weekend and decided to meet again there on Nov. 20.
 
They want Iran to halt its most sensitive nuclear fuel-making work and take other measures as part of a confidence-building deal that would buy time for negotiations on a more far-reaching diplomatic settlement.
 
A senior Iranian lawmaker last month said Iran had halted its 20 percent uranium enrichment - a move that would meet a main demand of the powers negotiating with Tehran - but another parliamentarian later contradicted that.
 
Iran's enrichment of uranium to levels of 20 percent is controversial as it is a relatively short technical step to increase that to the 90 percent required for making a nuclear warhead. Iran says it needs the 20 percent material to fuel a medical research reactor in Tehran.
 
Asked whether Iran was continuing the higher-grade enrichment work, Amano said: “That's right.”
 
One the one hand, he said when asked about the Iranian nuclear program, “there has not been that big change. On the other hand, activities which are not allowed (under a series of U.N. Security Council resolutions calling on Iran to suspend all enrichment) are continuing”.
 
Iran says it is refining uranium to fuel a planned network of nuclear power plants. But if enriched much further, uranium can also provide the core of a nuclear bomb.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Dr. Fadlahlah from: Saudi Arabia
November 13, 2013 5:51 PM
this guy seems unlikely to see anything... let alone "radical change"; he wouldn't be able to recognize "radical change" if radical change jumped up and bit him on the A...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
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 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 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.


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