News / Middle East

UN Nuclear Watchdog to Visit Two Iranian Sites

FILE - An unidentified International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspector cuts the connections between the twin cascades for 20 percent uranium enrichment at the Natanz facility, some 200 miles (322 kilometers) south of the capital Tehran, Iran.
FILE - An unidentified International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspector cuts the connections between the twin cascades for 20 percent uranium enrichment at the Natanz facility, some 200 miles (322 kilometers) south of the capital Tehran, Iran.
Reuters
The United Nations atomic agency will visit two uranium sites in Iran next week, Iranian media reported on Tuesday, part of the body's efforts to gain greater insight into Tehran's disputed nuclear program.
 
A senior inspector from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will visit the Saghand uranium mine in central Iran and the Ardakan milling plant, where the ore is separated from other elements, ISNA news agency reported, quoting Behrouz Kamalvandi, the spokesman of Iran's atomic energy organization.
 
Fars news agency said the visits would take place next week.
 
There was no immediate comment from the IAEA, a Vienna-based U.N. agency set up to prevent the spread of atomic arms.
 
IAEA access to such sites is seen as important as the uranium they produce, once refined, can be used in both nuclear power plants and, after further processing, nuclear bombs.
 
Iran says its nuclear program is entirely peaceful and denies Western and Israeli allegations that it seeking to develop the capability to make nuclear weapons.
 
After years of an increasingly hostile standoff between Iran and the West, the Islamic Republic and six world powers reached a breakthrough agreement in November to curb the country's nuclear activities in exchange for some sanctions easing.
 
They aim to negotiate a permanent settlement by late July to settle a dispute that has raised fears of a Middle East war.
 
Separately, the IAEA and Iran late last year struck a transparency accord intended to allay concerns that Iran may have worked on designing a nuclear warhead. The deal raised hopes of progress in a long-stalled IAEA probe.
 
Detonators
 
The planned visits to Saghand and Ardakan are among seven measures the two sides agreed would be carried out by May 15, as part of a step-by-step process by Iran to provide greater access and more information to U.N. inspectors.
 
Diplomats and experts say the measures announced so far have been relatively easy for Iran to agree to but that it may become increasingly difficult as the U.N. agency presses for answers to sensitive questions on alleged atomic bomb research.
 
One such issue, about detonators that could be used to help set off an atomic explosive device, is also among the steps to be carried out by mid-May. It is unclear whether Iran has so far provided the information requested by the IAEA in this regard.
 
Western diplomats say Iran's agreement to start addressing IAEA concerns about what it calls the possible military dimensions to the country's nuclear program is positive but that it needs to do so at a faster pace.
 
In 2011, the IAEA issued a 12-page report with a trove of intelligence information pointing to activities in Iran relevant to the development of nuclear weapons.
 
Although separate, the IAEA's and the powers' talks with Iran are still closely linked as both are focused on easing fears that Tehran may be seeking nuclear bomb capability.
 
The powers - the United States, France, Germany, Britain, China and Russia - want Iran to cooperate with the IAEA's investigation as part of any wider diplomatic accord to end the decade-old nuclear dispute.
 
Iran said in April last year that it had begun operations at the Saghand and Ardakan sites. It was not immediately clear if the IAEA has ever visited them.
 
IAEA reports in 2010 and 2011 only referred to satellite imagery of the sites, saying construction activities appeared to be continuing at the time.

You May Like

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Works to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Smithsonian senior research botanist Vicki Funk says ultimate goal is 'trying to get one-half of the diversity of plant life on Earth at the genus level in two years' More

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

Report from member of British think tank says Russian extradition requests keep targets from traveling More

US Lawmakers Weigh Turkish Anti-terror Moves

Turkey’s two-pronged campaign against Islamic State militants, Kurdish PKK forces provokes mixed reactions on Capitol Hill More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponentsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
July 28, 2015 9:53 PM
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 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 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 Special Olympics Athletes Meet International Friends

The Special Olympics are underway in Los Angeles, California, with athletes from 165 countries participating in an event that gives people with intellectual disabilities the chance to take part in an international competition. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that for athletes and their families, it's also an opportunity to make new friends in an international setting.
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 Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
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.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs