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

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    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.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora