By Ian Campbell
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.
The UK economy looks dangerously becalmed. While GDP did increase a good-looking 0.5 percent in the third quarter, the number was flattered by a catch up from a royal wedding-distracted spring. Besides, there has only been a 0.5 percent rise over the full year. And now a euro zone storm is brewing. That Tuesday’s UK manufacturing survey for October dropped to the lowest level for over two years is no coincidence — but is alarming.
An E.U. protest vote by members of his own party has knocked the UK prime minister. For the moment, the Conservative party rebellion is largely symbolic.
VIENNA (Reuters) – The U.N. nuclear watchdog is expected to publish intelligence soon pointing to military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear activities but stopping short of saying explicitly that Tehran is trying to build atom bombs, Western diplomats say.
Russian and Chinese reluctance may frustrate any Western bid to seize on next month’s report by the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to press for expanded United Nations sanctions on Iran, a major oil producer.
VIENNA (Reuters) – Major powers are willing to meet with Iran within weeks if it is prepared to “engage seriously in meaningful discussions” and address concerns about its nuclear programme, the European Union’s foreign policy chief told Tehran in a letter on Friday.
In a long-awaited response to an offer of talks last month from Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, Catherine Ashton made clear her position that there must be no repeat of the last round of talks, which took place in January in Istanbul and ended with no progress.
VIENNA (Reuters) – Russia and China have urged the U.N. nuclear watchdog chief to give Iran time to study and respond to allegations of possible military-linked atomic activities before he publishes a report on the issue next month, diplomats said on Friday.
The move by Moscow and Beijing may be a sign of divisions among the six major powers — also comprising the United States, France, Germany and Britain — on how to best handle the long-running dispute over Iran’s nuclear programme.
VIENNA (Reuters) – Iran plans to soon start moving nuclear material to an underground site for the pursuit of sensitive atomic activities, diplomatic sources say, a move likely to add to Western fears about Tehran’s intentions.
They said a first batch of uranium hexafluoride gas (UF6) — material which is fed into machines used to refine uranium — would be transferred to the Fordow site near the holy city of Qom in preparation for launching enrichment work there.
VIENNA (Reuters) – Russia fears a U.N. report which is expected to heighten suspicions about Iran’s atomic ambitions could undermine Moscow’s initiative to help resolve a nuclear dispute with Tehran, diplomatic sources said on Wednesday.
Russia’s concern about the timing of the U.N. report, due next month, contrasts with the hopes of Western states that the document will strengthen their case to step up pressure on the Islamic state over its nuclear program.
VIENNA (Reuters) – A U.S. push to isolate Iran looks unlikely to make Tehran back down over its nuclear programme and other disputes, setting the scene for sharpening rhetoric and rising tension at a time when the two foes are preparing for elections.
U.S. President Barack Obama, seeking a second term next year, says the Islamic republic will face the harshest possible sanctions for an alleged plot to assassinate a Saudi diplomat in Washington and has not ruled out military action.
VIENNA (Reuters) – A U.S. push to isolate Iran looks unlikely to make Tehran back down over its nuclear program and other disputes, setting the scene for sharpening rhetoric and rising tension at a time when the two foes are preparing for elections.
President Barack Obama, seeking a second term next year, says the Islamic republic will face the harshest possible sanctions for an alleged plot to assassinate a Saudi diplomat in Washington and has not ruled out military action.
VIENNA (Reuters) – The U.N. nuclear watchdog is expected to raise international pressure on Iran with a report next month likely to heighten suspicions about the Islamic state’s atomic ambitions, Western diplomats said on Friday.
But they said it was unclear whether the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) would go as far as to make a firm assessment on whether it believes Iran is working to develop a nuclear missile, as Tehran’s Western foes want the agency to.