News / Middle East

UN Nuclear Chief: Iran Talks 'Going Round in Circles'

International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano reacts as he attends a news conference at the UN headquarters in Vienna, Austria, March 4, 2013.
International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano reacts as he attends a news conference at the UN headquarters in Vienna, Austria, March 4, 2013.
Reuters
The U.N. nuclear watchdog chief said on Monday talks with Iran have been “going around in circles” - unusually blunt criticism pointing to rising tension over suspected nuclear arms research by Tehran that has increased fears of a new Middle East war.
    
Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, vented growing frustration at the lack of results in getting Iran to address suspicions of military dimensions to its atomic energy program. Tehran denies the accusations.
    
In hard-hitting comments to the IAEA's 35-nation Board of Governors, he also said Iranian advances in building a heavy-water research reactor and in its uranium enrichment work were in “clear contravention” of U.N. Security Council resolutions, dating to 2006, calling for a suspension in such activities.
    
The IAEA has been trying since early 2012 to engage with the Islamic state over what the Vienna-based U.N. agency calls the “possible military dimensions” to Iran's nuclear program.
    
But ten rounds of negotiations in the last 17 months have failed to achieve any breakthrough. Western diplomats accuse Iran of stonewalling the IAEA, an allegation Tehran rejects.
    
“Despite the intensified dialogue between the agency and Iran since January 2012..., no agreement has been reached on the structured approach document. To be frank, for some time now we have been going around in circles,” said Amano.
    
“This is not the right way to address issues of such great importance to the international community, including Iran,” he said, according to a copy of his speech to the closed-door board meeting at the IAEA's headquarters.
    
Israel, widely assumed to be the Middle East's only nuclear-armed state, sees Iran's declared civil nuclear program as the most serious risk to its security and has threatened military action if diplomacy and sanctions fail to make Tehran hold back.
    
“We need to achieve concrete results without further delay to restore international confidence in the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear activities,” said Amano.
    
The IAEA has “solid grounds for requesting clarification in relation to possible military dimensions”, he added.
    
Amano spoke at a time of apparent deadlock in a broader diplomatic initiative by six world powers to find a peaceful solution to the decade-old dispute over Iran's nuclear ambitions. Western diplomats say they are awaiting the outcome of Iran's June 14 presidential election but do not anticipate any notable shift in the country's nuclear defiance.
    
Iranian nuclear advances
   
Iran, a big oil producer now under harsh Western sanctions against its lifeblood export sector, says its nuclear program aims to meet the electricity needs of a rapidly growing population and advance some areas of scientific research.
    
But its refusal to suspend nuclear activity with both civilian and potential military applications in defiance of U.N. Security Council demands, and its lack of full openness with the IAEA, have fuelled suspicions abroad about its ultimate goals.
    
“Iran is not providing the necessary cooperation to enable us to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities,” Amano said.
    
“I urge Iran to fully implement its [nuclear] safeguards agreement ...and engage with us to achieve concrete results in resolving all outstanding issues with a sense of urgency.”
    
Western and Israeli worries about Iran are focused largely on its uranium enrichment work, as such material refined to a high level can provide the fissile core of an atomic bomb.
    
But diplomats and experts say a heavy water research reactor being built near the town of Arak could give Iran an alternative ingredient - plutonium - for nuclear bombs, if it were to decide to build such weapons of mass destruction.
    
An IAEA report issued to member states last month showed the Islamic Republic pressing ahead with the construction of Arak, including the delivery to the site of the reactor vessel.
    
Such a plant could yield plutonium for the core of a nuclear bomb if the spent fuel were reprocessed, something Iran says it has no intention of doing.
    
“Iran continues to advance its heavy water-related projects,” Amano said. The lack of updated design information about the plant “is having an increasingly adverse impact on our ability to ... implement an effective safeguards approach.”

You May Like

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid