Ian's Feed
Mar 5, 2012

IAEA has “serious concerns” as Iran boosts nuclear work

VIENNA (Reuters) – Iran has tripled its monthly production of higher-grade enriched uranium and the U.N. nuclear watchdog has “serious concerns” about possible military dimensions to Tehran’s atomic activities, the agency’s chief said on Monday.

Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, also told the IAEA’s 35-nation board of governors about the lack of progress in two rounds of talks between the Vienna-based U.N. agency and Tehran this year.

Mar 2, 2012

West seeks to pressure Iran at U.N. nuclear meet

VIENNA (Reuters) – Western powers hope to win Russian and Chinese backing for rebuking Iran at the U.N. nuclear agency next week over Tehran’s failure to address mounting fears that it is secretly bent on acquiring nuclear weapons capability, diplomats say.

Seeking to ward off any such diplomatic action, Iran has warned its opponents and others against making “provocative statements” at the March 5-9 meeting of the 35-nation governing board of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Mar 1, 2012

Third time lucky for nuclear watchdog in North Korea?

VIENNA (Reuters) – North Korea’s agreement to allow inspections of its Yongbyon nuclear plant is a welcome emergence from isolation, but far from enough to reassure the world it will give up its ambitions for nuclear weapons, diplomats and experts say.

North Korea said Wednesday it would suspend nuclear tests, long-range missile launches and enrichment of uranium at its Yongbyon facility and allow back International Atomic Energy Agency personnel. The surprise turn of events also brings U.S. food aid for the impoverished state and makes possible the resumption of six-nation nuclear negotiations with Pyongyang.

Feb 29, 2012

IAEA worried about “activities” at Iran site

VIENNA (Reuters) – The U.N. nuclear watchdog believes unspecified “activities” may be taking place at Iran’s Parchin military facility that make its request to visit the site more urgent, Western diplomats said on Wednesday.

It was unclear what kind of activities the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) suspected, or whether it thought Iran might be trying to clean the site or conceal something ahead of a possible visit. Diplomats said the agency was monitoring the site via satellite images.

Feb 27, 2012

Iran may be “struggling” with new nuclear machines

VIENNA (Reuters) – Iran is still relying on old technology to expand its nuclear program, in what may be a sign it is having difficulties developing modern machines that could speed up production of potential bomb material.

A report by the U.N. nuclear watchdog last week said Iran was significantly stepping up its uranium enrichment, a finding that sent oil prices higher on fears tensions between with the West could escalate into military conflict.

Feb 25, 2012

Iran uranium “discrepancy” still unresolved – IAEA

VIENNA (Reuters) – Iran has yet to clarify a discrepancy in uranium quantities at a Tehran research site, a U.N. nuclear watchdog report said, after measurements by international inspectors last year failed to match the amount declared by the laboratory.

The United States has expressed concern the material may have been diverted to suspected weapons-related research activity.

Feb 25, 2012

Iran has expanded sensitive nuclear work: U.N. agency

VIENNA (Reuters) – Iran has sharply stepped up its controversial uranium enrichment drive, the U.N. nuclear agency said on Friday in a report that will further inflame Israeli fears the Islamic Republic is pushing ahead with atomic bomb plans.

The nuclear watchdog also gave details of its mission to Tehran this week where Iran failed to respond to allegations of research relevant to developing nuclear arms – a blow to the possible resumption of diplomatic talks that could help calm worries about a new war in the Middle East.

Feb 24, 2012

Iran wants more UN nuclear talks after Tehran stalemate

VIENNA (Reuters) – Iran wants more talks with the U.N. nuclear watchdog, its ambassador to the body said, despite what one Western envoy called “very long and fruitless” negotiations this week on addressing growing suspicions about Tehran’s atomic activities.

The relatively upbeat comments by Iran’s ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) were in stark contrast to a terse statement issued by the U.N. agency on Wednesday after the two days of discussions in Tehran.

Feb 24, 2012
via Breakingviews

Europe picks up as Commission predicts recession


Ian Campbell

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

There is a time lag in forecasts, especially those of big institutions like the European Commission. By the time the Commission has compiled, computed, considered and finally downgraded its forecasts to recession – it happened on Thursday – the data has started to point the other way.

Feb 23, 2012

Iran seeks to boost nuclear work in bunker: diplomats

VIENNA (Reuters) – Iran is believed to be carrying out preparations to expand nuclear activity deep inside a mountain, diplomats say, in a further sign of defiance in the face of intensifying Western pressure to curb its sensitive uranium enrichment drive.

Increased capacity at the Fordow underground site would probably heighten Western suspicion of Iran’s intentions, after it last month started refining uranium there to a level that cuts the time it would need for any nuclear weapons bid.