Ian's Feed
Apr 13, 2012

Iran, powers prepare for high-stakes nuclear talks

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Iran and the six world powers prepared on Friday for rare talks aimed at easing fears that a deepening dispute over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program could plunge the Middle East into a new war.

Officials from Iran and the six major powers arrived in Istanbul ahead of Saturday’s bid to restart stalled diplomacy following months of soaring tension and persistent speculation that Israel might attack Iranian nuclear sites.

Apr 12, 2012

Nuclear talks aim to ease fears of Iran war

VIENNA/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Major powers will hold their first talks with Iran this week in more than a year, hoping Tehran will give enough ground over its nuclear programme to continue negotiations and avert the threat of a Middle East war.

Israel has hinted at military strikes on Iran, arguing time is running out to stop it developing atomic arms; Iran says it could respond by closing a major oil shipping thoroughfare, aware that would push up crude prices and hit the world economy.

Apr 12, 2012

Preview: Nuclear talks aim to ease fears of Iran war

VIENNA/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Major powers will hold their first talks with Iran this week in more than a year, hoping Tehran will give enough ground over its nuclear program to continue negotiations and avert the threat of a Middle East war.

Israel has hinted at military strikes on Iran, arguing time is running out to stop it developing atomic arms; Iran says it could respond by closing a major oil shipping thoroughfare, aware that would push up crude prices and hit the world economy.

Apr 10, 2012
via Breakingviews

Wobbly markets face second-quarter correction

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By Ian Campbell

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

Markets are wobbling on renewed fears about global growth. Rising yields on Italian and Spanish bonds add to the alarm. And it would be wrong to assume that central bankers will ride to markets’ rescue this time – because oil prices and inflation are part of the global gloom.

Apr 5, 2012
via Breakingviews

Against the euro, the pound looks sound

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By Ian Campbell

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

The pound has upside against the euro. The UK economy probably grew in the first quarter while euro land keeps heading down. And UK inflation looks firmer too – and that may deter more British money printing.

Mar 30, 2012

New Iran talks may focus on higher-grade atom work

VIENNA, March 30 (Reuters) – Getting Iran to stop the
higher-level uranium enrichment it started two years ago and has
since sharply increased will be a priority when world powers
re-enter talks with the Islamic Republic in April, Western
diplomats and analysts say.

Tehran took a major step towards making potential atom bomb
material after a previous attempt at diplomacy failed, spurning
U.N. demands to halt all enrichment and, instead, ramping up
uranium processing to 20 percent purity – goading the West to
impose crushing sanctions on its banks and oil exports.

Mar 28, 2012

Could bombing Iran push it to build the Bomb?

VIENNA (Reuters) – Pre-emptive military strikes aimed at forcing Iran to abandon its nuclear activities may end up having the opposite effect: convincing the Islamic Republic’s leaders they need an atomic arsenal to secure their hold on power.

That is the argument from those in the West and elsewhere who say the negative impact of an Israeli or U.S. attack would eventually outweigh any gains – pushing Iran towards a decision that Western intelligence services believe it has not yet taken.

Mar 23, 2012
via Breakingviews

ECB short of firepower as Europe gets worse again

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By Ian Campbell

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

Smoke is again visible in the euro zone. The economy contracted in the fourth quarter of 2011 and looks like doing so again in the first quarter of this year. Sovereign yields have risen again. The European Central Bank put out the fires before by spraying one trillion euros on the banks. But its now greatly expanded balance sheet, and stubborn inflation, are big obstacles to a credible policy response.

Mar 22, 2012
via Breakingviews

UK budget deserves lukewarm applause

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By Ian Campbell

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

George Osborne deserves a lukewarm round of applause. Britain’s chancellor, pinned down by a still-large deficit and rating agencies threatening the UK’s triple-A credit rating, tried to work some tricks into his budget. Cutting taxes for the very rich and less well-off, and further lowering corporation tax, is mildly positive for optimism, growth and recovery. But the need to maintain fiscal sobriety means that what Osborne gives with one hand, he has to take with the other.

Mar 21, 2012

IAEA says nuclear security improving, more to be done

VIENNA, March 21 (Reuters) – More still needs to be done to
safeguard nuclear and radioactive materials given the scores of
security incidents the U.N. atomic agency hears about each year,
a senior official said on Wednesday.

Khammar Mrabit, a director of the U.N. International Atomic
Energy Agency, said much had been achieved in the last decade to
help make it harder for militants to carry out “malicious acts”
involving potentially dangerous nuclear substances.