Ian's Feed
May 8, 2012

Divisions complicate plans for MidEast nuclear meet

VIENNA (Reuters) – The Western official tasked with preparing for a conference this year on ridding the Middle East of nuclear weapons said on Tuesday he had yet to secure the needed participation of all the region’s states, leaving it unclear when the event will be held.

The statement by Finnish diplomat Jaakko Laajava was a sign of the difficulties and sensitivities involved in getting Israel, its arch foe Iran and other Middle East nations to agree to sit around the same table to discuss the divisive issue.

May 7, 2012

EU tells defiant Iran it “must” suspend atom activity

VIENNA/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union told Iran on Monday it must suspend uranium enrichment, a few days after the Islamic state ruled out doing just that, as Tehran and the West engaged in diplomatic shadow-boxing ahead of nuclear talks this month.

The United States called on Iran to take “urgent practical steps” to build confidence during negotiations with world powers on Tehran’s nuclear program, which Washington and its allies suspect is a bid to develop an atomic bomb capability.

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.