Ian's Feed
May 4, 2012

Non-nuclear states lobby big powers to disarm faster

VIENNA (Reuters) – Non-nuclear states are urging nuclear-armed nations to disarm faster, while nuclear powers say they are making “unprecedented progress” in doing so, a divide on display at this week’s meeting to discuss the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Under the pact, which most countries have acceded to, the five recognized atomic bomb “haves” agreed to work towards eliminating their bombs, and the “have-nots” pledged not to pursue them. A treaty review conference is scheduled for 2015.

May 4, 2012

Iran dismisses Western demand to close nuclear bunker

VIENNA (Reuters) – Iran said on Friday it will never suspend its uranium enrichment program and sees no reason to close the Fordow underground site, making clear Tehran’s red lines in nuclear talks with world powers later this month.

Last month a senior U.S. official said the United States and its allies would demand that Iran halt higher-grade enrichment and immediately close the Fordow facility at talks over Tehran’s nuclear standoff with the West.

May 3, 2012

World powers urge Iran to give more nuclear access

VIENNA/ST GALLEN, Switzerland (Reuters) – The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council put pressure on Iran on Thursday to allay international concern about its nuclear program, and said they expected talks with Tehran to lead to concrete steps toward a negotiated solution.

Iran and major powers resumed talks in mid-April in Istanbul after more than a year – a chance to ease tension and help to avert the threat of a new Middle East war. They are to meet again on May 23 in Baghdad.

May 2, 2012

Iran says seeks end to sanctions at talks with world powers

VIENNA, May 2 (Reuters) – Iran said on Wednesday it was
seeking an end to Western sanctions over its arms programme
during talks with world powers and criticised France for helping
Israel, the only country in the Middle East widely believed to
have atomic weapons.

An adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
said the talks in Baghdad on May 23 should lead to the lifting
of sanctions, according to Iranian media.

May 2, 2012

Iran says optimistic about nuclear talks

VIENNA, May 2 (Reuters) – Iran is optimistic about progress
in talks with world powers over its nuclear programme but it
will never give up its right to the peaceful use of atomic
energy, a senior Iranian official said on Wednesday.

Tehran reopened negotiations with six world powers over its
uranium enrichment programme last month and they have agreed to
meet again in Baghdad on May 23.

Apr 30, 2012

China wants “drastic” U.S., Russia nuclear arms cuts

VIENNA (Reuters) – China called on the United States and Russia on Monday to make further “drastic” cuts in their nuclear arsenals and said all states with atomic arms should undertake not to be the first to use them.

The development of missile defense systems which “disrupt” the global strategic balance should be abandoned, a senior Chinese diplomat also told a nuclear meeting in Vienna in a possible reference to U.S. plans that have angered Russia.

Apr 30, 2012

Iran hopes for “successful” nuclear talks with U.N.

VIENNA (Reuters) – An Iranian envoy voiced hope on Monday that talks with the U.N. nuclear watchdog in mid-May would help resolve “outstanding issues”, but he again ruled out any halt to Tehran’s controversial uranium enrichment program.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said on Saturday it would resume discussions with Iran on May 14-15 – more than two months after the last meeting over concerns about Tehran’s atomic activities ended in failure.

Apr 27, 2012

Could North Korea test “uranium bomb” for first time?

VIENNA (Reuters) – North Korea, believed to be preparing for a third nuclear test, would probably be able to make and explode a uranium device for the first time after earlier relying on plutonium, a former chief U.N. inspector said.

If it were to do so, that would show North Korea had developed the technology to produce highly enriched uranium (HEU), putting it in a position to build up larger stocks of weapons-grade material.

Apr 25, 2012

Ex-Iran negotiator: “historic” chance for nuke talks

VIENNA (Reuters) – Iran and major nations have a “historic opportunity” to settle their decade-old nuclear dispute, but requiring the Islamic state to stop higher-grade uranium enrichment would be discriminatory, Tehran’s former chief nuclear negotiator said.

Hossein Mousavian, now a visiting scholar at Princeton University in the United States, voiced optimism before next month’s talks between Iran and the six major powers following a first meeting in Istanbul earlier this month.

Apr 24, 2012
via Breakingviews

Markets threaten no growth, no austerity Europe


By Ian Campbell

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Global equity and commodity and euro zone debt markets are at risk of a sizeable correction. French and Dutch political uncertainty and a worsening European recession will feed global concerns about growth and debt. The deepest worry is that as Europe’s economy weakens, the uncertainty about how to address the crisis only increases.