News / Middle East

UN Nuclear Agency Says Iran Expanded Nuclear Activity

A view of the Arak heavy-water project 190 km (120 miles) southwest of Tehran. (File)
A view of the Arak heavy-water project 190 km (120 miles) southwest of Tehran. (File)
TEXT SIZE - +
VOA News
The International Atomic Energy Agency says Iran has taken a significant step toward building a reactor that Western experts say could provide a second path to producing material for a nuclear bomb.

In a quarterly report obtained by Western news agencies Wednesday, the U.N. nuclear agency said Iran has delivered the reactor vessel to the heavy water plant near the western city of Arak. It said the component has not yet been installed.

Western powers fear the Arak facility could provide Iran with plutonium for nuclear weapons if the reactor's spent fuel is reprocessed.

Iran insists its nuclear ambitions are peaceful. Iranian ambassador to the IAEA Ali Asghar Soltanieh said Wednesday the government is cooperating beyond its requirements under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

"After 10 years of the most robust inspections in the history of the IAEA no evidence of diversion of nuclear material or nuclear activities to prohibited purposes are found. And everything remains peaceful. This is, in fact, a very clear document to prove that all those allegations against Iran are forged and fabricated."

Iran has been denying IAEA inspectors access to nuclear facilities and documents the agency wants to see in order to address concerns about the possible military nature of Iran's nuclear program. In particular, Iran has repeatedly barred the IAEA from visiting the Parchin military site, insisting it is a standard military facility.

The two sides have increased the pace of negotiations since January of last year, but have yet to agree on a framework for addressing the agency's questions.

Iran has defied four rounds of U.N. Security Council sanctions demanding a suspension of uranium enrichment.

Western concerns have focused mostly on two facilities that enrich uranium, a process that can have peaceful and military uses.

Iran's underground Fordo plant has been enriching uranium to purities of 20 percent, a relatively small step away from the higher purity needed for a nuclear bomb.

The new IAEA report said enrichment work has stagnated at Fordo in the past three months. But it said Iran has accelerated enrichment at Natanz, with almost 700 advanced centrifuges installed in the facility by this month, compared to 180 in February.

The advanced equipment allows Iran to enrich uranium more quickly. Most uranium enrichment at Natanz is to the lower level of 5 percent purity, far short of weapons-grade.

You May Like

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Open Source Seeds Hit the Market, Raise Awareness

First open source seeds include 29 new varieties of broccoli, celery, kale, quinoa and other vegetables and grains More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid