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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs