News / Middle East

West Presses Iran to Address Suspected Atomic Bomb Research

FILE - The flag of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) flies in front of its headquarters in Vienna.FILE - The flag of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) flies in front of its headquarters in Vienna.
x
FILE - The flag of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) flies in front of its headquarters in Vienna.
FILE - The flag of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) flies in front of its headquarters in Vienna.
Reuters
Western powers pressed Iran on Wednesday to tackle suspicions that it may have worked on designing an atomic bomb and the United States said the issue would be central to the success of talks on a final settlement over Tehran's nuclear program.

At a board meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Washington and the European Union underlined their support for the U.N. watchdog's efforts to investigate long-running allegations of possible nuclear arms research by Iran.

The IAEA inquiry is separate from but complementary to higher-level political talks between Iran and six world powers aimed at a deal on the overall scope of Tehran's nuclear energy program to ensure it cannot be diverted into bombmaking.

In potentially a significant advance for the IAEA's inquiry into Iran's nuclear research, Tehran agreed last month to address one of many topics the U.N. agency wants answers on - fast-acting detonators that can be used for nuclear explosions.

But while this was welcomed by Western officials at the closed-door session of the IAEA's 35-nation governing board in Vienna, they made clear the Islamic Republic must do much more.

The U.S. ambassador to the IAEA, Joseph Macmanus, said it remained critical for Iran to address substantively all international concerns about the so-called possible military dimensions (PMD) of the country's nuclear program.

A “satisfactory resolution of PMD issues will be critical to any long-term comprehensive solution to the Iranian nuclear issue,” Macmanus said, according to a copy of his statement.

He later told reporters: “I don't think there is a question that it is being raised and will continue to be central to a comprehensive solution.”

The 28-nation European Union voiced a similar line in its statement: “We urge Iran to cooperate fully with the agency regarding PMD issues, and to provide the agency with access to all people, documents and sites requested.”

Iran denies Western allegations that it is seeking to develop the capability to make atomic arms, saying its nuclear program is a peaceful project to produce electricity.

EU's Ashton to visit Tehran

Also in Vienna on Wednesday, experts from Iran and the  powers - the United States, Russia, France, Britain, Germany and Britain - began a meeting to prepare for the next round of political-level talks on March 17 in the Austrian capital. Diplomats said Russia would take part in the meeting, suggesting no apparent immediate fallout in the Iran negotiations because of the crisis over Ukraine.

“The overriding commitment is one of working together to resolve the Iran nuclear program and there are many other issues in the world that will continue to cause us to have disagreements and debates and sometimes to find ourselves in opposition to one another,” Macmanus said when asked whether tensions over Ukraine could disrupt the Iran talks.

Iran and the powers are aiming to build on a breakthrough deal reached late last year in Geneva under which Tehran agreed to curb parts of its nuclear program in exchange for some easing of sanctions that are battering its economy.

The six-month agreement focused mainly on preventing Tehran obtaining nuclear fissile material to assemble a future bomb, rather than on whether Iran sought to develop nuclear weapons technology in the past, which the IAEA is investigating.

Western diplomats and nuclear experts say the IAEA needs to carry out its inquiry to establish what happened and to be able to provide assurances that any “weaponisation” work - expertise to turn fissile material into a functioning bomb - has ceased.

But it is unclear to what extent it will form part of any final settlement between Iran and the powers - which unlike the IAEA can lift crippling sanctions on the major oil producer and therefore have more leverage in dealing with Tehran.

In Brussels, officials said EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton - who is coordinating the nuclear negotiations with Iran on behalf of the six powers - would travel to Tehran on Saturday for a two-day visit.

Topics would include Syria's civil war, human rights in Iran and the nuclear dispute. She is due to meet several senior officials, including Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

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

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