News / Middle East

US Downplays Iran Announcement of Nuclear Advances

An aerial photo shows Iran's Uranium Conversion Facility, just outside the city of Isfahan, 410 kilometers south of the capital Tehran, Iran, in this Wednesday, March 30, 2005 photo.
An aerial photo shows Iran's Uranium Conversion Facility, just outside the city of Isfahan, 410 kilometers south of the capital Tehran, Iran, in this Wednesday, March 30, 2005 photo.

The Obama administration is downplaying Wednesday's announcements by Iran that it has a new generation of centrifuges to speed up uranium enrichment and that it is producing nuclear fuel rods.  Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful, civilian purposes.  The United States says Tehran is trying to develop nuclear weapons.

Iranian state television broadcast images of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad watching what it said were 20 percent enriched uranium fuel rods being loaded into an aging reactor that produces nuclear isotopes.

Iran says the domestic production of fuel rods and new carbon fiber centrifuges are major advances in mastering the nuclear fuel cycle, despite U.N. sanction aimed at stopping the process.

U.S. State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the fuel rods appear to be intended for the Tehran Research Reactor, which remains under the safeguard of International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors.  She said that Wednesday's announcements in Tehran “were not terribly impressive.”

"This is not big news.  In fact, it seems to have been hyped.  The Iranians have for many months been putting out calendars of accomplishments.  And based on their own calendars, they are many, many months behind.  This [announcement] strikes us as calibrated mostly for a domestic audience," she said.

The United States and the European Union are trying to close markets for Iranian oil to deprive Tehran of revenue.  With the value of the country's currency falling, Nuland said Iran's leaders might be trying to highlight marginal accomplishments to boost domestic public opinion of the government. "Iran is clearly feeling the pressure of its international and diplomatic isolation, of the increasing economic pressure on it, unprecedented sanctions that are growing," she said.

Asked whether Washington is downplaying these events to defuse Israeli concerns about Iran's nuclear program, Nuland said “countries that follow the Iranian nuclear program carefully know precisely what this was and what this wasn't.”

The European Union on Wednesday said it has received Iran's reply to a letter sent nearly four months ago proposing a return to talks on its disputed nuclear program with Russia, China, France, Britain, the United States, and Germany.  Nuland said those countries are studying the response.  She did not say what the letter said.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More