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.
VIENNA (Reuters) – A diplomatic storm over U.S. accusations that Iran plotted to kill the Saudi ambassador in Washington may throttle any slim chance of diplomacy resolving the long-running dispute over Tehran’s nuclear program.
“I wouldn’t say that it is dead forever,” said Gala Riani, senior Middle East analyst at London-based IHS Global Insight. “But it is difficult to see it being restarted any time soon.”
VIENNA (Reuters) – The U.N. atomic watchdog is expected to spell out in more detail soon the reasons for its growing concern that Iran may be working covertly to develop a nuclear missile, diplomats say.
Such a move by the International Atomic Energy Agency, possibly in a new quarterly report on Iran due early next month, could raise pressure on Tehran and offer more arguments for Western powers to tighten sanctions on the major oil producer.
(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own)
By Ian Campbell
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) – The Bank of England has launched its lifeboat early. Its calculation is that the euro storm, bad now, may get a lot worse, with worrying implications for UK banks, exports and growth. But whether the monetary lifeboat can keep the UK economy from sinking will remain in doubt. If the purchase of 75 billion pounds of government bonds isn’t enough, there may well be more — but also calls for bolder fiscal policy.
VIENNA (Reuters) – Iran is unlikely to be able to make atomic bombs before 2013, a former senior official of the U.N. nuclear watchdog said on Wednesday, dismissing suggestions it could happen in months if Tehran decided to pursue such mass-destruction weaponry.
Olli Heinonen, head of U.N. safeguards inspections worldwide until last year, said he believed Iran would need a couple of years to develop a capability to manufacture nuclear-armed missiles, based on what is now known about its activities.