Archive for the ‘IAEA’ Category

Iran Now Said to Have Enough Nuclear Material For Bomb

November 20, 2008

Iran has now produced roughly enough nuclear material to make, with added purification, a single atom bomb, according to nuclear experts analyzing the latest report from global atomic inspectors.

The figures detailing Iran’s progress were contained in a routine update on Wednesday from the International Atomic Energy Agency, which has been conducting inspections of the country’s main nuclear plant at Natanz. The report concluded that as of early this month, Iran had made 630 kilograms, or about 1,390 pounds, of low-enriched uranium.

Several experts said that was enough for a bomb, but they cautioned that the milestone was mostly symbolic, because Iran would have to take additional steps. Not only would it have to breach its international agreements and kick out the inspectors, but it would also have to further purify the fuel and put it into a warhead design — a technical advance that Western experts are unsure Iran has yet achieved.

“They clearly have enough material for a bomb,” said Richard L. Garwin, a top nuclear physicist who helped invent the hydrogen bomb and has advised Washington for decades. “They know how to do the enrichment. Whether they know how to design a bomb, well, that’s another matter.”

Iranian Shahab-2 (L) and Shahab-3 missiles stand on display ... 
Iranian Shahab-2 (L) and Shahab-3 missiles stand on display in front of a large portrait of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in a square in south Tehran in September 2008. Many experts believe Iran now has enough nuclear material for at least one bomb and has delivery options with missiles.(AFP/File/Atta Kenare)

Related:
Israel Scared, Wants U.S. More Engagement on Iran
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Iran increases stockpile of uranium

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Iran increases stockpile of uranium

November 19, 2008

Iran is forging ahead with its nuclear programme, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog reported on Wednesday, deepening the dilemma facing US president-elect Barack Obama over his campaign promise to engage with Tehran.

The latest report by the International Atomic Energy Agency reveals that Iran is rapidly increasing its stockpile of enriched uranium, which could be rendered into weapons-grade material should Tehran decide to develop a nuclear device.

By Daniel Dombey in Washington and James Blitz in London
FT, London

The agency says that, as of this month, Tehran had amassed 630kg of low enriched uranium hexafluoride, up from 480kg in late August. Analysts say Iran is enriching uranium at such a pace that, by early next year, it could reach break-out capacity – one step away from producing enough fissile material for a crude nuclear bomb.

An Iranian technician works at the Uranium Conversion Facilities ...
An Iranian technician works at the Uranium Conversion Facilities in Isfahan. The International Atomic Energy Agency, despite six years of intensive investigation, is no closer to determining whether Iran’s disputed nuclear drive is entirely peaceful as Tehran claims, the watchdog said in a new report Wednesday.(AFP/File/Behrouz Mehri)

“They are moving forward, they are not making diplomatic overtures, they are accumulating low enriched uranium,” said Cliff Kupchan, an analyst at the Eurasia Group, a risk consultancy in Washington. “These guys are committed to their nuclear programme: if we didn’t know that, they just told us again.”

The IAEA report also says there has been a breakdown of communication between the agency and Iran over alleged research on an atomic weapon. “The Iranians are making good progress on enrichment but there is absolute stone-walling on past military activities,” said Mark Fitzpatrick of the International institute for Strategic Studies. “It’s very disappointing.”

The progress chalked up by Iran increases the difficulties for Mr Obama, who campaigned on promises of talking to America’s enemies, although during the election he scaled down his initial vow to meet Iran’s leaders to a more general commitment to consider doing so if it advanced US interests.

“Obama faces a real dilemma,” said the Eurasia Group’s Mr Kupchan. “He must decide whether to pursue diplomacy quickly in light of rapid Iranian progress or whether to wait in the hope of a more moderate Iranian leadership after Iran’s June presidential election.”

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AFP

The White House accused Iran Wednesday of an “unfortunate and disappointing” failure to cooperate with the UN nuclear watchdog agency and effectively rejecting a US offer for high-level talks.

“The Iranian government’s failure to comply with the IAEA and UN is unfortunate and disappointing,” spokesman Gordon Johndroe said after the latest International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report on Tehran.

The agency cited scant progress in its investigation of Tehran’s suspect nuclear program and said the Islamic republic was defying UN demands to freeze uranium enrichment, which can be a key step to building atomic weapons.

Johndroe noted that Iranian compliance could unlock a package of economic and diplomatic incentives — including an offer for talks between US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her counterpart.

“The door is open if Iran will suspend its enrichment activity, but they don’t seem to want to walk through it,” he said in a brief statement.

An Israeli F-16I fighter plane takes off from Ramon Air Base ... 
An Israeli F-16I fighter plane takes off from Ramon Air Base in southern Israel November 19, 2008.REUTERS/Gil Cohen Magen

N. Korea to resume dismantling nuclear facilities

October 12, 2008

By HYUNG-JIN KIM, Associated Press Writer

SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea said Sunday it will resume dismantling its main nuclear facilities, hours after the U.S. removed the communist country from a list of states Washington says sponsor terrorism.
File satellite image of North Korea's Yongbyon nuclear reactor. ... 
File satellite image of North Korea’s Yongbyon nuclear reactor. North Korea said Sunday it would resume work to disable its plutonium-producing nuclear plants and readmit UN inspectors after the United States removed Pyongyang from a terrorism blacklist.(AFP/Digital Globe/File)

North Korea’s Foreign Ministry said it will again allow inspections by the United States and the International Atomic Energy Agency at its Yongbyon nuclear complex to verify the disablement process, pledged under a 2007 disarmament-for-aid deal with the U.S. and four other regional powers.

“We welcome the U.S. which has honored its commitment to delist (North Korea) as ‘a state sponsor of terrorism,'” the ministry said in a statement carried by the country’s official Korean Central News Agency.

TV still shows the public demolition of North Korea's cooling ...
TV still shows the public demolition of North Korea’s cooling tower at its Yongbyon nuclear complex in June. South Korea said Sunday that a US decision to take North Korea off its terrorism blacklist put the communist state’s nuclear disarmament back on track, but a Japanese minister called the move “extremely regrettable.“(AFP/CCTV/File)

North Korea halted its nuclear disablement in mid-August in anger over what it called U.S. delays in removing it from the terror list. The country has since taken steps toward reassembling its plutonium-producing facility and barred international inspectors from the site.

The U.S. had said North Korea first had to allow verification of the declaration of its nuclear programs it submitted in June. On Saturday, the U.S. said it took the North off the terrorism blacklist because Pyongyang had agreed to all Washington’s nuclear inspection demands.

U.S. officials said North Korea agreed to allow atomic experts to take samples and conduct forensic tests at all of its declared nuclear facilities and undeclared sites on mutual consent, and would permit them to verify that it has told the truth about transfers of nuclear technology and allegations it ran a separate secret uranium enrichment program.

U.S. officials, however, said the North could again be placed on the blacklist if it doesn’t comply with the inspections. The North also said Sunday that prospects for its disarmament depend on whether the U.S. delisting actually takes effect and the North receives remaining international oil shipments promised under the 2007 aid deal.

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U.S. wants new Iran sanctions expedited

November 3, 2007

By DAVID STRINGER, Associated Press Writer

LONDON – U.S. officials said Friday that Russia and China were keeping the U.N. Security Council from moving quickly enough toward a third set of sanctions over Iran’s refusal to halt uranium enrichment.

U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said there was an urgent need to ratchet up pressure over the issue, despite agreement Friday among the five permanent Security Council members, plus Germany, to come up with a new sanctions resolution if November reports by the European Union and the International Atomic Energy Agency do not show improved Iranian cooperation.

“The U.S. believes very strongly there is a need to accelerate the diplomacy, to strengthen the sanctions,” Burns told The Associated Press….
Photo

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

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US pushes for tougher sanctions on Iran

November 2, 2007

By DAVID STRINGER, Associated Press Writer

LONDON – A top American diplomat pressed for harsher U.N. sanctions against Iran for its nuclear program on Friday, while Iran’s former president said talks with the U.N. atomic watchdog were progressing and warned against threatening his country.

U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns was meeting diplomats from the four other permanent Security Council members and Germany to rally support for a tougher track with Iran, which has a deadline next month to fully disclose details of its nuclear program.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and France support new sanctions if Iran continues to refuse to suspend uranium enrichment, though fellow permanent U.N. Security Council members Russia and China remain skeptical.

The U.S. and allies accuse Iran of using a civilian power program as cover to develop ….

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US official warns Iran on nuke program

November 2, 2007

By GEORGE JAHN, Associated Press Writer

VIENNA, Austria – A senior U.S. official challenged Iran’s hard-line president Thursday over his claim that Iranians are immune from further U.N. sanctions, saying such action is in the works unless Tehran meets demands to curb its nuclear program.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad delivered his own warning in Tehran, saying his government would make unspecified economic retaliation against any European country that followed the U.S. lead in imposing sanctions on some Iranian banks and businesses.

A Saudi Arabian official, meanwhile, said Arab states in the Persian Gulf had proposed to Tehran that they set up a consortium to provide Iran with enriched uranium as way to defuse the nuclear fight.
Photo
U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns

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Putin to Tehran: One of a Kind

October 19, 2007

Arnaud de Borchgrave
The Washington Times
October 19, 2007

The last such visit by a Russian leader to Iran was by Josef Stalin in December 1943 for a secret summit with Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. The British leader wanted the next major allied invasion to target Europe’s soft underbelly in the Balkans. The Soviet dictator and the U.S. president outvoted him. Thus, the decision was reached to make the invasion of France, which took place seven months later in 1944, the next geostrategic priority. This second summit, 64 years later, could also prove momentous — down the road.

A report of an assassination plot against Mr. Putin caused a slight delay in the Russian president’s departure for Tehran, which added a touch of melodrama.

Vladimir Putin’s objective appeared to be to deter a future U.S. bombing of Iran’s nuclear facilities. He warned the United States not to use a former Soviet Republic to mount such an attack. Azerbaijan had been rumored as a staging base.

After his one-on-one with the much-reviled (in the West) Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Mr. Putin chaired a summit of the presidents of the five Caspian Sea states — Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. They all warned the U.S. not to attack Iran and agreed the Non-Proliferation Treaty is “one of the basic pillars of international security and stability.” This also gives them the right to pursue “research, production, and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes” under the less than watchful eye of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: Big Disappointment

September 24, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
September 25, 2007

There are no gays in Iran, the International Atomic Energy Agency says Iran’s nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, and the Holocaust never happened.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad might actually believe these false claims but almost nobody else does.

Ahmadinejad doubts the official U.S. version of 9/11. He sounds like someone who thought Harry Potter and Peter Pan were real.

Yet he wanted to visit “Ground Zero.”  If the spot marks no actual place of historic import: why visit?

Mr. Ahmadinejad also thinks he lives in a democracy. That is because he holds power in a viciously brutal regime that has no inkling of human rights, rights for women or gay rights.  In Iran, the rights do not exist for those not in the leadership or the cream of society.

In Iran guys like Ahmadinejad and Islamic Mullah’s call the shots.  You want in?

Columbia University president Lee Bollinger said Mr. Ahmadinejad is “a petty and cruel dictator.”

Mr. Ahmadinejad used the Socratic method to question some other truths of history.

On September 11, 2001: “Why did this happen? What caused it? What conditions led to it?  Who truly was involved? Who was really involved and put it all together?”

Brilliant: except questions are not argument and certainly fall way short of facts, proof and truth: things with which the president of Iran has only a limited familiarity.

Free speech was preserved even as Ahmadinejad criticized the United States for spying on its own citizens and neglecting free speech on Monday at Columbia University.

To put this all in an academic nutshell (something Mr. Ahmadinejad might be familiar with as he was at one time a professor): Ahmadinejad: C-. Bollinger and Columbia University: A-.

Mr. Bollinger said Mr. Ahmadinejad’s denial of the Holocaust might fool the illiterate and ignorant. But not the knowledgeable and educated.

“When you come to a place like this it makes you simply ridiculous,” Bollinger said.

Thank God General Dwight David Eisenhower and others who saw into the future to this day and gave us a vast photographic and documentary record of the Holocaust.

“The truth is that the Holocaust is the most documented event in human history,” said President Bollinger.

Thank God Israel continues to work on its own security and military forces, including an airstrike against Syrian nuclear facilities just more than a week ago.

And thank God for free speech. It exposes imbeciles like Ahmadinejad, allows the educated and informed to air and debate their views in an orderly manner, and it keeps our democracy alive.

Where is it in this world is free speech stifled? Iran, North Korea, China, Vietnam, Myanmar, Thailand, Cuba and Venezuela to name a few.

Any volunteers to live under the restrictions of Hugo Chavez or Hu Jintao or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?

Those student from Columbia University who cheered Mr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: we appreciate your right to believe what you will. But for tickets to China or Cuba or Venezuela or Iran: step to the head of the line. You are welcome to them.

Related:
Ahmadinejad denies 9/11, Holocaust

Ahmadinejad seeks to soothe critics

Harry Potter: More Worthless Pop Culture

Rice swipes at IAEA, urges bold action on Iran

September 19, 2007

By Sue Pleming

SHANNON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice scolded the U.N.’s atomic watchdog agency on Wednesday over its Iran strategy and called for diplomacy with “teeth” to end Tehran’s nuclear plans.

While repeating the U.S. stand that “all options” remained on the table — a reference to military action against Tehran — Rice sought to ease fresh concerns over talk of war.

“We believe the diplomatic track can work ….

Related:
Adm. Fallon presses case against Iran

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Condoleezza Rice
Condoleezza Rice

IAEA: Iran agrees to nuclear concessions

July 13, 2007

By GEORGE JAHN, Associated Press

VIENNA, Austria – Iran has lifted its ban on visits to a nuclear facility by U.N. experts and now will allow them to inspect the site, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Friday.

It also said Tehran was ready to answer key questions on past suspicious experiments that the international community fears could be linked to a weapons program.

The IAEA — the U.N. nuclear monitor — said Iran promised the concessions earlier this week in meeting between its officials and a senior delegation from the Vienna-based agency.

Years of Iranian stonewalling have left the IAEA unable to ascertain whether Tehran is telling the truth in asserting that it has no nuclear weapons ambitions and that its atomic activities are meant strictly to generate power. Its refusal to cooperate with the agency was the trigger that prompted U.N. Security Council involvement last year that led to two sets of sanctions.

Any decision by the Islamic republic to end its foot dragging and cooperate with the agency would thus be a major compromise on its part. As such, it could weaken a push by the United States and its Western allies on the council to impose new U.N. sanctions — even if Tehran continues to defy the council’s main demand that it freeze its uranium enrichment program.

In talks between Iranian officials and IAEA Deputy Director General Olli Heinonen, “agreement was reached on … a visit of agency inspectors the heavy water research reactor at Arak by the end of July,” said a statement from the Vienna-based agency.

The two sides also agreed on how “to resolve reaming issues regarding Iran’s past plutonium experiments;” appointing new inspectors in the place of those banned by Iran earlier this year; finalizing ways of fuller IAEA supervision of uranium enrichment activities, and “clarifying the open issues regarding associated with the score and content of Iran’s enrichment program,” said the statement.

The “open issues” include “uranium contamination found on equipment at a specific location,” said the agency, alluding to traces of enriched uranium at a military site — which could indicate links to a weapons program — as “well as studies related to specified projects,” again shorthand for nuclear work that could have military applications.