Ian's Feed
Oct 17, 2011

Analysis: Iran-U.S. tension rising ahead of elections

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.

Oct 14, 2011

“Strong” IAEA report may pile pressure on Iran

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.

Oct 12, 2011

Analysis: Alleged plot deals new blow to Iran nuclear diplomacy

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.”

Oct 10, 2011

IAEA seen giving more detail on Iran atom bomb fears

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.

Oct 7, 2011

BoE’s QE2 is uncertain lifeboat in euro storm

(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.

Oct 5, 2011

Ex-U.N. inspector sees no Iran atom bomb before 2013

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.

Sep 28, 2011

Analysis – How close is Iran to the bomb? Depends who you ask

VIENNA (Reuters) – Either Iran could build a nuclear bomb in a matter of months or it is unlikely to get such a weapon any time soon — depending on which Western expert you talk to.

The differing estimates show the difficulty in trying to assess how long it could take Iran to convert its growing uranium stockpile into weapons-grade material and how advanced it may be in other areas vital for any bomb bid.

Sep 28, 2011

How close is Iran to the bomb? Depends who you ask

VIENNA (Reuters) – Either Iran could build a nuclear bomb in a matter of months or it is unlikely to get such a weapon any time soon — depending on which Western expert you talk to.

The differing estimates show the difficulty in trying to assess how long it could take Iran to convert its growing uranium stockpile into weapons-grade material and how advanced it may be in other areas vital for any bomb bid.

Sep 26, 2011

IAEA seeks funds for post-Fukushima nuclear safety

VIENNA (Reuters) – The U.N. atomic agency urged states on Monday to provide extra funding to strengthen global nuclear safety in the wake of Japan’s Fukushima accident — a request some may balk at amid growing economic worries.

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano, also announced the U.N. body would send a team of experts to Japan next month to help sanitise areas contaminated as a result of the nuclear accident.

Sep 23, 2011

Israel sees “positive” Arab move at IAEA meeting

VIENNA (Reuters) – Israel welcomed as a “positive” move a decision by Arab states not to target the Jewish state with a resolution over its assumed nuclear arsenal at a global meeting of the U.N. atomic agency on Friday.

Arab delegations described this as a “goodwill” gesture ahead of talks later this year on efforts to free the world of nuclear weapons and an Egyptian-proposed conference in 2012 on creating a zone without such arms in the Middle East.