Ian's Feed
Feb 16, 2012

Iran wants early resumption of nuclear talks

VIENNA (Reuters) – Iran has proposed a resumption of long-stalled nuclear talks with world powers in which Tehran would have “new initiatives”, according to a letter from Tehran to European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton obtained by Reuters on Thursday.

The brief letter, which offered no specific proposals in the nuclear dispute, may not convince Western states that Iran is ready to enter the kind of substantive negotiations tackling its nuclear work they say is needed to resolve the longstanding row.

Feb 16, 2012

Iran wants early resumption of nuclear talks: letter

VIENNA (Reuters) – Iran has proposed a resumption of long-stalled nuclear talks with world powers in which Tehran would have “new initiatives,” according to a letter from Tehran to European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton obtained by Reuters on Thursday.

The brief letter, which offered no specific proposals in the nuclear dispute, may not convince Western states that Iran is ready to enter the kind of substantive negotiations tackling its nuclear work they say is needed to resolve the longstanding row.

Feb 15, 2012
via Breakingviews

Moody’s shows UK needs more austerity, not less

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By Ian Campbell

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

How cruel. Moody’s is threatening to dump the UK’s triple-A rating. Its justification – “materially weaker growth prospects” – has been seized by the government’s opponents to attack spending cuts. But Moody’s warning is in reality a Valentine to austerity. George Osborne, the UK Chancellor, really does need to continue his policy of tough love.

Feb 15, 2012

U.N. nuclear watchdog set for high-stakes Iran talks

VIENNA (Reuters) – The U.N. nuclear watchdog sent its top brass to an Iranian embassy event in Vienna last week, but the goodwill gesture likely won’t be enough to win over Tehran to transparency about its nuclear activity at crunch talks in Tehran next week.

The attempt by the International Atomic Energy Agency to reach out, with the rare presence of IAEA chief Yukiya Amano and two deputies at an embassy reception marking the 1979 Islamic Revolution, was hailed as “positive” by state media in Tehran.

Feb 15, 2012

U.N. nuclear agency set for high-stakes Iran talks

VIENNA (Reuters) – The U.N. nuclear watchdog sent its top brass to an Iranian embassy event in Vienna last week, but the goodwill gesture likely won’t be enough to win over Tehran to transparency about its nuclear activity at crunch talks in Tehran next week.

The attempt by the International Atomic Energy Agency to reach out, with the rare presence of IAEA chief Yukiya Amano and two deputies at an embassy reception marking the 1979 Islamic Revolution, was hailed as “positive” by state media in Tehran.

Feb 6, 2012

Iran boosts nuclear work in bunker: diplomats

VIENNA (Reuters) – Iran is believed to be expanding uranium enrichment activity deep inside a mountain, diplomatic sources said Monday, a move likely to add to tension with Western powers that suspect Tehran is seeking nuclear weapons capability.

The move to increase sensitive nuclear work at the Fordow underground site near the Shi’ite Muslim holy city of Qom, even if expected, underlines the Islamic state’s defiance in the face of intensifying Western pressure to curb such activity.

Feb 6, 2012

U.N. nuclear talks in Tehran: frustrated hopes

VIENNA (Reuters) – After two days of rare and intensive talks in Tehran, senior U.N. nuclear officials may have felt they were finally making headway towards getting Iran to address suspicions that it is bent on developing the ability to make atom bombs.

Then, on the evening before the third and final session of last week’s meetings in the Iranian capital, the visiting U.N. nuclear watchdog delegation was handed an envelope that dealt a blow to any hopes of substantive progress.

Feb 6, 2012
via Breakingviews

World not ending – except maybe for shipping

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By Ian Campbell

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

According to a popular, although probably erroneous, reading of an ancient Mayan calendar, the end of the world is scheduled for Dec. 21, 2012. A look at the Baltic Dry Index, which reflects commodity shipping rates, might suggest the Mayan doomsday is indeed at hand. The measure of bulk shipping costs plunged in 2008, warning of the 2009 global recession. On Feb. 3 it closed below its 2008 low.

Feb 3, 2012

Nuclear experts barred from Iran site: diplomats

VIENNA (Reuters) – Iran’s apparent reluctance to let U.N. inspectors visit a military site near Tehran underlines the uphill task they face in convincing the Islamic state to address suspicions it may be seeking to develop nuclear weapons, Western diplomats say.

They say the U.N. nuclear watchdog sought access to the Parchin complex during three days of talks in the Iranian capital, so far without any sign that Iran would agree to it.

Feb 3, 2012
via Breakingviews

Euro’s bounce can’t last

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

It was supposed to be the year of the U.S. dollar. So, perhaps inevitably, the euro has opened the year well, rising from $1.27 in mid-January to $1.32 now. It has been supported by the flood of fresh European Central Bank liquidity, some encouraging reforms in Italy, the prospect of Greek debt reduction and the threat of a third round of money printing by a Federal Reserve still concerned about U.S. growth. But Europe’s fundamental economic problems remain unresolved – and are likely to drag the euro down before long.