Iran seeks give and take on militants, nuclear program BY PARISA HAFEZI AND LOUIS CHARBONNEAU UNITED NATIONS Sun Sep 21, 2014 (Reuters) – Iran is ready to work with the United States and its allies to stop Islamic State militants, but would like to see more flexibility on Iran’s uranium enrichment program, senior Iranian officials told Reuters.
The comments from the officials, who asked not to be named, highlight how difficult it may be for the Western powers to keep the nuclear negotiations separate from other regional conflicts. Iran wields influence in the Syrian civil war and on the Iraqi government, which is fighting the advance of Islamic State fighters.
Iran has sent mixed signals about its willingness to cooperate on defeating Islamic State (IS), a hardline Sunni Islamist group that has seized large swaths of territory across Syria and Iraq and is blamed for a wave of sectarian violence, beheadings and massacres of civilians.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said recently that he vetoed a U.S. overture to the Islamic Republic to work together on defeating IS, but U.S. officials said there was no such offer. In public, both Washington and Tehran have ruled out cooperating militarily in tackling the IS threat.
But in private, Iranian officials have voiced a willingness to work with the United States on IS, though not necessarily on the battlefield. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Friday that Iran has a role to play in defeating Islamic State, indicating the U.S. position may also be shifting………http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/09/21/us-iran-nuclear-exclusive-idUSKBN0HG03T20140921
Iran moving to comply with extended nuclear deal with powers-IAEA BY FREDRIK DAHL VIENNA Fri Sep 19, 2014, (Reuters) - Iran is taking further action to comply with the terms of an extended interim agreement with six world powers over its disputed atomic activities, a U.N. nuclear watchdog report obtained by Reuters on Friday showed.
The findings in a monthly update by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) – though no major surprise – may be seen as positive by the West as negotiations resumed in New York this week on ending the decade-old nuclear stand-off.
The IAEA document made clear that Iran is continuing to meet its commitments under the preliminary accord that it reached with the United States, France, Germany, Britain, China andRussia late last year and that took effect in January.
In addition, as agreed when the deal was extended by four months in July, it is using some of its higher-grade enriched uranium in oxide form to produce fuel – a step that experts say would make it more difficult to use the material for any bombs……..http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/09/19/us-iran-nuclear-iaea-idUSKBN0HE1R820140919
Iran, 6 Powers Seek to Unblock Nuclear Talks, abc news, UNITED NATIONS — Sep 19, 2014, By GEORGE JAHN Associated Press With little more than two months to deadline, Iran and six world powers on Friday launched a fresh effort at narrowing stubborn differences on what nuclear concessions Tehran must agree to in exchange for full sanctions relief.
The report in the Hamshahri daily said the “Ukrainian expert” was affiliated with a Russian contractor that works in Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant, which went online in 2011 with Russian aid.
The report did not elaborate on the timing or nature of the alleged sabotage. Iran has long accused the United States, Israel and European countries of working to sabotage its nuclear program.
International sanctions force Iran to buy Western-made parts for its nuclear program from third parties. Hamshahri suggested such parties are involved in sabotaging parts before they arrive in Iran, without elaborating.
Hamshari also quoted Asghar Zarean, deputy head of Iran’s nuclear department in charge of security, as saying that Sandia National Laboratories, a New Mexico-based subsidiary of defense contractor Lockheed Martin, has been involved in manipulating parts that Iran needs for its nuclear facilities.
In 2010, the so-called Stuxnet virus temporarily disrupted the operation of thousands of centrifuges, key components in nuclear fuel production, at Iran’s Natanz uranium enrichment facility. Iran says it and other computer virus attacks are part of a concerted effort by Israel, the U.S. and their allies to undermine its nuclear program through covert operations…….http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/iran-arrests-suspected-nuclear-plant-saboteur-25323907
Iran is playing a win-win game at the nuclear talks Al Arabia News Camelia Entekhabi-Fard Monday, 1 September 2014 “……. being too optimistic or too pessimistic is not constructive. Simply put, Iran’s foreign policy has been changed due to the regional and international circumstances…….
President Rowhani and his nuclear negotiating team took very constructive and major steps in order to restore Iran’s image and to try to solve disputes.
They seem to be succeeding because the supreme leader decided to change course and achieve the ambitions they had since the revolution, but in a different way. He understands the importance of being engaged in regional and international matters to play a part rather than sit back in isolation, worrying about national security.
In my opinion, what made Iran’s supreme leader back the nuclear talks and show flexibility, according to his own statement, are the events in the region and the opportunities for Iran to become a regional power once again.
The events in Iraq and Syria,the rise of extremism and Iran’s geopolitical and regional importance coalesce to make Iranians feel like they could gain by changing their language and the way they presen themselves in the region.
Nuclear bombs can’t feed the masses
Israeli stealth drone downed at nuclear facility, Iran claims Revolutionary Guard hails act against ‘warmongers’ as incident reported at major uranium enrichment plant Harriet Sherwood in Jerusalem and Saeed Kamali Dehghan in Boston The Guardian, Monday 25 August 2014 Iran‘s Revolutionary Guards claimed on Sunday that an Israeli stealth drone had been brought down above the Natanz uranium enrichment site in the centre of the country.
The semi-official Fars news agency reported that Iran’s elite forces had intercepted and brought down an unmanned aircraft belonging to “the Zionist regime”. The news was announced in a statement published by the guards, but it was not clear when the incident, if true, happened.
“This mischievous act once again reveals the adventurist nature of the Zionist regime [of Israel] and added another black page to this fake and warmongering regime’s file which is full of crimes,” said the Revolutionary Guards’ statement.
The state news agency ISNA reported that the aircraft was “of the stealth, radar-evasive type and it intended to penetrate the off-limits nuclear area in Natanz … but was targeted by a ground-to-air missile before it managed to enter the area.”
A spokesman for the Revolutionary Guards later told Iranian television that parts of the aircraft had been retrieved. Iran claimed to have reverse engineered a drone after capturing an American RQ-170 Sentinel in 2011.
“Major parts of the devices of the drone are intact and have been received by our friends that can be used for further information,” said General Ramazan Sharif. He did not say when the aircraft was shot down, but said it was “identified upon arrival in Iranian airspace”. He said authorities allowed it to fly for a short time to determine its destination.
Israeli political and military officials said they never respond to such claims. They have repeatedly threatened to take military action against Iran’s nuclear installations, but have been reluctant to do so without US backing or participation.
Natanz is Iran’s main uranium enrichment site, housing more than 16,000 centrifuges. About 3,000 more are at the Fordo plant, buried inside a mountain and hard to destroy…….. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/24/israeli-stealth-drone-nuclear-facility-iran-natanz
U.N. Nuclear Chief Positive After ‘Useful’ Iran Visit: Reuters http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/u-n-nuclear-chief-positive-after-useful-iran-visit-reuters-n182671 18 Aug 14,
Iran has given a firm commitment to cooperate with a U.N. nuclear watchdog investigation into suspected atomic bomb research, the head of the agency said after what he described as a “useful” visit to Tehran on Sunday. Yukiya Amano made the trip ahead of an Aug. 25 deadline for Iran to provide information relevant to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s long-running inquiry into what it calls the possible military dimensions of the country’s nuclear program.
The issue is close ly tied to Iran’s negotiations with six world powers aimed at ending a decade-old standoff over its atomic activities and dispelling fears of a new Middle East war. Iran denies its program has any military objectives.
Since Rouhani was elected in mid-2013, Tehran has promised to work with the U.N. agency to clear up the suspicions about its nuclear aspirations. After meeting Amano, Rouhani said on his English-language Twitter account that Iran was “determined to forge accord with the IAEA in the shortest possible time span. God willing, it can be done in less than a year.”
UN: Iran Turns Nuclear Material Into More Harmless Forms http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/20/iran-nuclear_n_5604070.html By GEORGE JAHN 07/20/2014 VIENNA (AP) — The United Nations says Iran has turned all enriched uranium closest to the level needed to make nuclear arms into more harmless forms.
Tehran had committed to the move under an agreement with six powers last November that essentially froze its atomic programs while the two sides negotiate a comprehensive deal. They extended those talks Saturday to Nov. 24.
Iran had more than 200 kilograms (over 250 pounds) of 20 percent enriched uranium when the agreement was reached and began reducing it shortly after. The U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency said Sunday in a report obtained by The Associated Press that all has now been converted or diluted.
At 20 percent, enriched uranium can be converted quickly to arm a nuclear weapon. Iran denies wanting such arms.
Iran eases demands for nuclear capacity at Vienna talks: Western diplomats BY LOUIS CHARBONNEAU AND PARISA HAFEZI VIENNA Thu Jul 3, 2014 (Reuters) - Iran has reduced demands for the size of its future nuclear enrichment program in talks with world powers although Western governments are urging Tehran to compromise further, Western diplomats close to the negotiations said on Thursday.
The diplomats, who spoke to Reuters at the start of a two-week round of negotiations between Iran and the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China, said that despite some movement from Tehran it would not be easy to clinch a deal by their self-imposed deadline for a deal of July 20.
Tehran’s shift relates to the main sticking point in the talks – the number of uranium enrichment centrifuges Iran will maintain if a deal is reached to curb its nuclear program in exchange for a gradual end of sanctions. Ending the decade-long dispute over Iran’s nuclear ambitions is seen as instrumental to defusing tension and averting a new Middle East war.
“Iran has reduced the number of centrifuges it wants but the number is still unacceptably high,” a Western diplomat told Reuters on condition of anonymity and without further detail……….
Other disputes include the duration of any nuclear deal, the timetable for ending the sanctions, and the fate of a research reactor that could yield significant quantities of plutonium, an alternative fuel for nuclear weapons.
The current round of talks in the Austrian capital will run until at least July 15. (Additional reporting by Fredrik Dahl in Vienna and Mehrdad Balali in Dubai; Editing byMark Heinrich) http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/07/03/us-iran-nuclear-exclusive-idUSKBN0F810H20140703
Building Nuclear Weapon Would Take Years, Not Months, Iran Says in Report NYT, By DAVID E. SANGERJUNE 12, 2014 WASHINGTON — The Iranian government this week published its first detailed study of how long it estimates it would take its scientists and engineers to assemble a nuclear weapon, saying that with its current infrastructure, “the required time span is in years.”
Iran described the estimate as entirely hypothetical, and it was clearly intended to allay fears that Iran has the ability to race for a bomb. ……http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/13/world/middleeast/iran-building-nuclear-weapon-would-take-years-not-months-us-disputes-estimate.html?_r=0
Iran: Nuclear Pact ‘Within Reach,’ Despite Yawning Divide http://www.nationaljournal.com/global-security-newswire/iran-nuclear-pact-within-reach-despite-yawning-divide-20140613 Iran said a landmark nuclear pact may be “within reach,” though a chasm persists between negotiators on key issues, the Wall Street Journal reports.
“We’re both very close and very far” from a deal with the five permanent U.N. Security Council member nations and Germany, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said on Thursday. The sides are seeking terms to lift sanctions on Iran and to impose long-term limits on its atomic efforts, which are seen by Washington and its allies as a cover for pursuing a nuclear-bomb capability.
“We all want to get the job done by July 20,” Araqchi added, referring to the expiration date for an interim accord that his nation reached in November with China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.
“Our focus remains on the July 20 deadline and that has not changed,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters.
“I doubt that an extension is being formally discussed, because that would be to admit failure to meet the July 20 deadline,” former U.S. State Department official Mark Fitzpatrick said. “But some discussion of it must be underway informally.” Western powers may only agree to an extension if Tehran indicates it “will make substantial concessions and come down from hard-line positions,” said Mark Hibbs, a nuclear expert with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
He added, though, that the sides “have been drafting documents in preparation for an eventual extension for a long time.”
Iran says ‘redesigning’ nuclear reactor to cut plutonium capacity Iran’s atomic energy chief offers to reduce Arak nuclear output to about one-tenth of previously planned level. Haaretz, By Reuters | Jun. 12, 2014 Iran is “busy redesigning” a planned research reactor to sharply cut its potential output of plutonium – a potential nuclear bomb fuel, a senior Iranian official said in comments that seemed to address a key dispute in negotiations with world powers.
The future of the Arak plant is among several issues that negotiators from Iran and six world powers need to resolve if they are to reach a deal by late July on curbing the country’s nuclear programme in exchange for an end to sanctions……..
The amount of plutonium the reactor will be able to yield will be reduced to less than 1 kg (2.2 pounds) from 9-10 kg (20-22 pounds) annually in its original design, he said. Western experts say 9-10 kg would be enough for 1-2 nuclear bombs and that Arak’s capacity should be scaled back.
“We are currently busy redesigning that reactor to arrange for that alteration,” Salehi was quoted by IRNA as saying.
After talks with senior U.S. officials earlier this week, Iran questioned whether the July 20 deadline for a permanent settlement with the powers was feasible. If not, Tehran said the negotiations could be extended for six months. http://www.haaretz.com/news/middle-east/1.598410
Leader nuclear fatwa addresses entire world: Analyst http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2014/06/11/366530/leader-nfatwa-directed-at-entire-world/ The fatwa by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei against the development of nuclear weapons is addressed to all world countries, an analyst tells Press TV.
“I wish the world leaders and the mass media would pay more attention and engage in more dialogue about the importance of this religious fatwa that prohibits production and use of nuclear weapons,” Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi told Press TV in aninterview.
On February 22, 2012, Ayatollah Khamenei said the Islamic Republic considers the pursuit and possession of nuclear weapons “a grave sin” from every logical, religious and theoretical standpoint.
Elahi said nuclear weapons seriously threaten the “destiny of humanity and democracy,” adding, “The wisdom of this message [of Ayatollah Khamenei] is that all of us work together to bring dialogue instead of deception and destruction…; to end violence and terrorism and extremism instead of bringing more threat.”
Elahi stated that nuclear weapons must be prohibited so that they would never fall into the hands of terrorist groups like al-Qaeda who “would not hesitate to use” them against humanity.
“So we need to learn the lesson from our faith traditions and also moral principles to pay more attention to this message,” he said.
Iran has repeatedly called for turning the Middle East into a region free of nuclear weapons. Israel is widely believed to be the only possessor of nuclear arms in the Middle East, with an estimated stockpile of 200-400 nuclear warheads. In its Yearbook 2012, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said Israel possesses at least 80 “highly operational” nuclear warheads.
The Israeli regime, which rejects all international nuclear regulatory agreements, maintains a policy of deliberate ambiguity over its nuclear activities and refuses to allow its nuclear facilities to come under international regulatory inspections.
IAEA Confirms: Iran Sharply Reducing Uranium Stockpile http://news.antiwar.com/2014/05/23/iaea-confirms-iran-sharply-reducing-uranium-stockpile/ 20 Percent Enriched Uranium Almost Used Up by Jason Ditz, May 23, 2014 Many of the contents of the IAEA report on Iran were already leaked the day before it came out, and the good news of Iran abiding by the P5+1 interim nuclear deal was as expected. There’s more to the report, however. One of the biggest pieces of data in the report shows Iran’s stockpile of 20 percent enriched uranium, the highest level they made, has sharply fallen as the nation continues to convert it into fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor.
Though 20 percent is far short of the level needed for nuclear weapons, it was repeatedly pushed by the US as a “threat,” and Iran stopped enriching at that level at the start of the nuclear deal. Only about 40 kg are left to be converted to fuel rods, a trivial amount. The Tehran Research Reactor, built by the US in 1967, provides materially all of the medical isotopes in Iran. The aging facility will eventually be replaced with a modern one using unenriched uranium, but in the meantime Iran has created what seems to be all of the fuel rods it can use for the conceivable lifespan of the facility.
Iran is now only enriching to 3.5 percent, the level used in the Bushehr Power Plant. Iran is in talks with Russia to build more power plants in the nation, with a deal for as many as 8 reported to be close.
US bishops and Iranian ayatollahs hold talks on nuclear arms http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2014/05/15/us-bishops-and-iranian-ayatollahs-hold-talks-on-nuclear-arms/ By PATRICIA ZAPOR on Thursday, 15 May 2014 It has been revealed that a small group of US Catholic bishops have met with Iranian ayatollahs to discuss nuclear weapons and the role of faith leaders in influencing political moves on the issue of Iran’s nuclear programme. Quietly, a small group of U.S. Catholic bishops and Iranian ayatollahs began in March what they intend to be an ongoing dialogue on nuclear weapons and the role of faith leaders in influencing political moves on the issue of Iran’s nuclear program. Continue reading
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