The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Uranium enrichment is the issue with Iran’s nuclear programme

flag-IranUranium enrichment at heart of Iran nuclear deal WP 24 Nov 13, Iran’s ability to enrich uranium — at what levels and what speed — is a cornerstone of the deal reached Sunday between Tehran and world powers. Here are answers to some important questions about uranium enrichment, the central process in turning concentrated uranium into nuclear fuel.


A: This is what Iran has frequently called its “red line.” Iran’s leaders say they will never relinquish control over the entire nuclear cycle as a matter of national pride. Iran portrays itself as an emerging technological giant of the Islamic world. The nuclear energy program is a pillar of Iran’s self-image as a center of scientific advances independent of the West. Iran has made some other important strides, including claims of sophisticated drone development, a homegrown auto industry and an aerospace program..



A: Iran has two main uranium enrichment facilities. The oldest and largest — in Natanz, about 260 kilometers (160 miles) southeast of Tehran — is largely built underground and is surrounded by anti-aircraft batteries. Uranium enrichment began in 2006. Another site is known as Fordo, which is built into a mountainside south of Tehran. Its construction was kept secret by Iran until it was disclosed in September 2009 in a pre-emptive move before its existence was revealed by Western intelligence agencies. The area is heavily protected by the Revolutionary Guard. U.N. nuclear inspectors have visited both sites and have installed round-the-clock monitoring systems. The new accord allows for the possibility of daily U.N. inspection visits.

A: More than a dozen countries have enrichment programs, but several of those do not have nuclear weapons.

November 25, 2013 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Another chance for a nuclear deal between Iran and the West

diplomacy-not-bombsflag-IranOmens good for Iran nuclear deal at second bite  Foreign ministers ready to fly to Geneva as diplomats make further progress on draft agreement over uranium enrichment Guardian,   and  in Geneva 21 Nov 13 Foreign ministers from six major powers are poised to fly to Geneva by the end of the week if nuclear talks with Iran lead to an agreement, western officials said on Wednesday night.

A new round of negotiations over the future of Iran’s nuclear programme got under way on Wednesday, bringing together the Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, the EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, and top diplomats from the US, UK, France, Germany, Russia and China.

Officials involved in the talks – the third session since the election of a reformist Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani – said they were going well, overcoming the disappointment of the previous round, attended by US secretary of state, John Kerry, the British foreign secretary, William Hague, their French counterpart, Laurent Fabius, and other foreign ministers.

Those talks appeared to come close to clinching a historic deal but the talks broke up in early hours of 10 November, amid some acrimony over who was responsible for the failure……

November 24, 2013 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Iran, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

Balancing act of diplomacy between Iran and the West

diplomacy not bombs 1Talks With Iran on Nuclear Deal Hang in Balance NYTBy  November 23, 2013 GENEVA — As Secretary of State John Kerry and top diplomats from five other world powers swept into Geneva this weekend for the second time in two weeks, they struggled to complete a groundbreaking agreement with Iran that would temporarily freeze Tehran’s nuclear program and lay the foundation for a more comprehensive accord…….

The interim accord the United States and its negotiating partners are seeking would allow Iran to continue enriching uranium to 3.5 percent and would not require it to dismantle its existing centrifuges. But it seeks to constrain the Iranian program by requiring Iran to transform its stockpile of uranium that has been enriched to 20 percent, a short hop from weapons grade, to a form that is less usable for military purposes.

It also establishes a cap on Iran’s stockpile of uranium enriched to 3.5 percent, precludes new centrifuges from being installed and is expected to involve more intensive monitoring of the Iranian program, among other measures.

As to what Iran considers its “right to enrich,” American officials signaled a possible workaround last week, saying that they were open to a compromise in which the two sides would essentially agree to disagree, while Tehran continued to enrich.

The accord would last six months, allowing negotiators that period of time to work on a more comprehensive and lasting agreement.

In return for the temporary freeze, Iran would receive between $6 billion and $7 billion worth of sanctions relief, American officials say, including providing Iran with access to frozen assets. The limited relief could be accomplished by executive action, allowing the Obama administration to make the deal without having to appeal to Congress, where there is strong criticism of any agreement that does not dismantle Iran’s nuclear program……..

Michael Mann, the spokesman for Ms. Ashton, described the negotiations with the Iranians as “intensive.” If diplomats do not succeed in sweeping away the obstacles to an accord this weekend, observers expect them to mount another try here within a few weeks.

November 24, 2013 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Non Proliferation Treaty allows Iran to enrich uranium

flag-IranLegal right to enrich uranium  for Iran 23 Nov 13, TEHRAN — Hans Blix, the former director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, says his interpretation of Article IV of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is that uranium enrichment is a “right”.

The remarks by Blix come as Iran and the six major powers (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany, known as the 5+1 group) are negotiating in Geneva.

Iran says its right to enrichment, as a signatory to the NPT, must be recognized by the West. 
 Blix said definition of enrichment is a matter of difference between Iran and the six powers.
 The former IAEA chief said Iran says according to the NPT uranium enrichment is its right but certain countries among the 5+1 group have another interpretation and argue that there is not something as the “right to enrichment”.
The Article IV of the NPT says:
1. Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with Articles I and II of this Treaty.
2. All the Parties to the Treaty undertake to facilitate, and have the right to participate in, the fullest possible exchange of equipment, materials and scientific and technological information for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Parties to the Treaty in a position to do so shall also co-operate in contributing alone or together with other States or international organizations to the further development of the applications of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, especially in the territories of non-nuclear-weapon States Party to the Treaty, with due consideration for the needs of the developing areas of the world.

November 24, 2013 Posted by | Iran, politics international, Reference, Uranium | Leave a comment

USA optimism about a nuclear deal soon with Iran

diplomacy not bombs 1U.S. thinks nuclear deal with Iran is possible next week Raw Story, By Agence France-Presse Friday, November 15, 2013  A nuclear deal with Iran is possible at the next round of talks in Geneva, a US official said Friday, but warned tough issues still had to be hammered out.

“We are going to work very hard next week. I don’t know if we’ll reach an agreement. I think it is quite possible that we can. But there’s still tough issues to negotiate,” the senior administration official told reporters.

Flag-USAThe official also renewed pleas to skeptical US lawmakers not to slap more sanctions on Iran in the mistaken belief it would force the Islamic republic “to the point of capitulation” and the dismantling of all its nuclear program…….

flag-IranShooting down reports that the US and P5+1 were planning a major, valuable package of sanctions relief, he said “it would come nowhere near helping Iran escaping the hole that we’ve put them in.”

Officials from the administration of President Barack Obama have been leading what they described as “hard” discussions with US lawmakers seeking to head off a new round of American sanctions which they fear could scupper the delicate negotiations…….

November 16, 2013 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Iran stopped expanding uranium enrichment 3 months ago, says IAEA

flag-IranIAEA: Iran has not expanded nuclear facilities in last 3 months November 14, 2013   Iran has stopped expanding its uranium enrichment capacity and has not started new centrifuges in the past three months, according to a new report by the UN’s nuclear watchdog. The report covers the beginning of President Hassan Rouhani’s term.

The quarterly report issued by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Thursday said that Iran has not begun operating any of its new generation IR-2M centrifuges, and installed “no…major components” at a reactor being built at Arak, AFP reported.

According to the report, only four uranium enrichment centrifuges were operating at Iran’s Natanz plant and no additional machines were operating at the Fordo facility. Iran’s stockpile of higher-grade enriched uranium has thus risen only by about 5 percent since August, Reuters quoted the report as saying.

The report puts Iran’s highly enriched uranium stockpile at 196 kg, which is below the roughly 250 kg needed for nuclear weapon production capability.

Although the latest round of Geneva talks between Iran and the US, Russia, China, Britain, Germany, and France appeared to be inconclusive, it “created grounds for cooperation that will help us decide how to deal with the Iranian nuclear problem in terms of IAEA and UN Security Council requirements,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.

Media reports also indicated that a deal could be struck soon. White House spokesman Jay Carney said the US would consider “limited, targeted, and reversible relief” of sanctions against Iran in exchange for“concrete, verifiable measures.”

Iran reiterated that stopping the uranium enrichment remains an issue “beyond discussion,” and said it is only open to discuss the details of the enrichment process.

The Geneva talks follow what seems to be a warm-up in US-Iranian relations, with President Rouhani and US President Barack Obama recently having a “historic” phone conversation by Obama’s initiative. Meanwhile, Tehran and the IAEA have reached a deal for a “roadmap for cooperation” over Iran’s nuclear program. IAEA head Yukiya Amano and Iranian nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi on Monday signed an agreement on a three-month plan aimed at verifying Iran’s claim that its uranium enrichment program is for peaceful purposes only.

In the view of the possibility of Iran striking a nuclear deal with the West, Israel stepped up its scaremongering rhetoric, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warning that reaching an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program could lead only to a “bad deal” or “war.”

Reacting to the IAEA report on Thursday, Netanyahu said he “was not impressed” with its conclusions.
Israel is desperately trying to block any compromise on the Iranian nuclear program, and while Netanyahu has been speaking with some of the P5+1 countries’ leaders over the phone and is coming to Moscow on November 20, Israeli Economy Minister Naftali Bennett on Sunday said he will personally “lobby dozens of members of the US Congress” during his visit to the US.

November 16, 2013 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Agreement reached between Iran and IAEA on inspection of nuclear sites


Reuters reports.  The agreement allows International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors to visit two sites at the center of Iran’s contentious nuclear program: The Arak heavy water site and Gachin uranium mine.

Arak is currently under construction and is designed to eventually produce weapons-grade plutonium.Gachin has been producing plutonium, which can be enriched to weapons grade, since 2010. The other sticking point in nuclear talks that ended without a deal over the weekend in Geneva is the fate of Iran’s stockpile of uranium already enriched to 20 per cent, which could be further enriched to weapons grade.

The new agreement — which is separate from the talks involving Iran and so-called the P5+1: the US, Russia, Britain, France, China, and — calls for measures requested by the agency to be implemented at the facilities.

“The practical measures will be implemented in the next three months, starting from today,” IAEA head Yukiya Amano said in a news conference in Tehran.  Reuters notes that the agreement is one part of an IAEA inspection regime to ascertain whether Iran’s nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.

November 12, 2013 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Temporary nuclear deal between USA and Iran

diplomacy not bombs 1US and Iran close to temporary nuclear deal SMH, November 7, 2013   Michael R. Gordon Geneva: On the eve of a new round of talks between world powers and Iran, a senior Obama administration official said on Wednesday that the United States was prepared to offer Iran limited relief from economic sanctions if Tehran agreed to halt its nuclear program and reversed part of it.

The official said that suspending Iran’s nuclear efforts, perhaps for six months, would give negotiators time to pursue a comprehensive agreement.

“Put simply, what we’re looking for now is a first phase, a first step, an initial understanding that stops Iran’s nuclear program from moving forward for the first time in decades and that potentially rolls part of it back,” the administration official told reporters on the condition of anonymity because of diplomatic concerns.

The official said that the details of such a step had already been discussed by international and Iranian officials and suggested that it might be agreed on as early as this week. It would likely include constraints on the level of Iran’s uranium enrichment, the country’s stockpiles of nuclear material and the abilities of its nuclear facilities, added the official, who declined to provide further details. It would also involve verification measures……….

The duration of Iran’s halt on nuclear activity under the agreement has not been finalised, but Western officials said that a six-month suspension was being considered.

The US official would not say specifically what sanctions might be eased but suggested that the degree of relief would depend on the constraints Iran was willing to accept.

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November 8, 2013 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Fact Checking Israel’s claims about Iran’s nuclear programme

flag-IsraelFACT CHECK: A look at Israel’s claims on Iran’s nuclear program “…..A look at the claims: WP, 6 Nov 13 
CLAIM: At an Oct. 27 meeting of the Israeli Cabinet, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said “improvements” in Iran’s nuclear program in the past year would allow it push past the “barrier” of 20 percent enriched uranium — the highest level acknowledged by Iran — to reach 90 percent enrichment within “weeks at most.” Uranium at 90 percent enrichment is close to weapons-grade.

DETAILS: Netanyahu may be talking about the amount of 20 percent material now on hand. This is close to 200 kilograms (440 pounds). Experts say 250 kilograms (550 pounds) would be needed to produce a single bomb by enriching that amount to above 90 percent. There is significant debate over a possible timetable, but many experts say it could be several months or longer, based on the hypothetical scenario that Iran would move ahead with higher enrichment.

Netanyahu also could be referring to the number of centrifuges installed in the past year or upgrades that allow faster production of enriched uranium. Except for a test station, however, none of the new generation machines are running. CLAIM: At the same meeting, Netanyahu said Iran’s planned heavy water reactor in the city of Arak has “no connection with energy for peace, but only for nuclear weapons.”

DETAILS: The heavy water reactor — currently under construction in central Iran — uses a molecular variant of water as a coolant and can use natural, non-enriched uranium as a fuel. Such reactors produce a higher amount of plutonium as a byproduct. The plutonium can be reused in nuclear weapons production, but needs a special extraction and enrichment process that Iran currently does not possess. Iran has not released details on its plans for plutonium, but said the reactor’s main purpose is to produce isotopes for cancer treatment and other medical uses. Iran has said it will allow 24-hour video surveillance at the reactor by the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency. Similar around-the-clock monitoring is in place at other enrichment and nuclear sites.

LAIM: Israel’s Security Cabinet said Oct. 15 that Iran has “systematically defied” U.N. Security Council resolutions to halt uranium enrichment.

DETAILS: The U.N. Security Council in July 2006 passed the first in a series of resolutions demanding Iran halt its enrichment program. Iran dismissed the resolution and moved ahead with advances in enrichment, as well as the then-secret construction of a new and fortified enrichment facility built into a mountain south of Tehran……….

November 7, 2013 Posted by | Iran, Israel, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Iran DOES have a legal right to enrich uranium

diplomacy-not-bombsBottom line: At present Iran has the legal right under treaty to enrich uranium. It may be persuaded to give up that right in negotiations, but there is at present no justification for holding it to this unreasonable demand.

Does Iran Have the Right to Enrich Uranium? The Answer Is Yes Dissident Voice,  by William O. Beeman / November 2nd, 2013 Now that serious talks with Iran over its nuclear program are underway, one seemingly insurmountable issue is whether Iran flag-Iranhas the right to enrich uranium. The short answer is: Yes.

Those who are trying to torpedo the ongoing talks, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, want Iran to be forced to agree to the whole monty–a complete cessation of uranium enrichment and a dismantling of all enrichment facilities.

Iran claims that it has the inalienable right to enrich uranium as guaranteed in the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) to which it is a signatory.

The NPT treaty language is quite clear. In Article IV of the treaty it states: “Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with Articles I and II of this Treaty.” Continue reading

November 6, 2013 Posted by | Iran, politics international, Uranium | Leave a comment

Iran’s supreme leader curbing hard liners against America

flag-IranKhamenei tells Iran’s hardliners not to undermine nuclear talks By Yeganeh Torbati 4 Oct 13,  DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran’s supreme leader gave strong backing on Sunday to his president’s push for nuclear negotiations, warning hardliners not to accuse Hassan Rouhani of compromising with the old enemy America.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s comments will help shield Rouhani, who has sought to thaw relations with the West since his surprise election in June, from accusations of being soft on the United States, often characterized in the Islamic Republic as the “Great Satan”.

Iran will resume negotiations with six world powers, including the United States, in Geneva on Thursday, talks aimed at ending a standoff over its nuclear work that Tehran denies is weapons-related. Rouhani hopes a deal there will mean an end to sanctions that have cut the OPEC country’s oil exports and hurt the wider economy, but any concession that looks like Iran is compromising on what it sees as its sovereign right to peaceful nuclear technology will be strongly resisted by conservatives.

“No one should consider our negotiators as compromisers,” Khamenei said in a speech, a day before the November 4 anniversary of the 1979 seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, a pivotal event in U.S.-Iranian relations, the ISNA news agency reported.

“They have a difficult mission and no one must weaken an official who is busy with work,” said Khamenei, who wields ultimate power in Iran’s dual clerical-republic system, including over the nuclear program. ENEMY WHO SMILES

Hardline factions, who oppose any thaw in relations with the United States, have criticized Rouhani’s negotiating team for not releasing details of the proposal they made to world powers at a previous round of talks in Geneva last month.

They have also resisted calls from moderate Iranian newspapers and prominent figures including former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani to drop the “Death to America” chant, often heard at Friday prayers throughout Iran……..

In September, U.S. President Barack Obama insisted that the United States would “take no options off the table, including military options, in terms of making sure that we do not have nuclear weapons in Iran.”

November 4, 2013 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Iran upbeat about progress in nuclear negotiations with the West

Iran pledges “new approaches” with U.N. nuclear agency CBC News 28 Oct 13, A senior Iranian negotiator was upbeat Monday about the chances of progress in the latest round of talks about a proposed U.N. investigation of his country’s nuclear program, promising “new approaches” meant to end nearly two years of deadlock.

Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi spoke to reporters after meeting with Yukiya Amano, the head of the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency, and shortly before IAEA and Iranian officials sat down to negotiate again about the terms of the IAEA investigation……

Araghchi did not give details about Iran’s position, but in remarks to reporters loaded with optimism, he spoke of a “very useful and constructive meeting” with Amano, and said he was “very hopeful” that the talks on the proposed probe will break “with a good result.”

Beyond any new Iranian initiative Araghchi’s visit had significance on its own. He and other senior Iranian officials have repeatedly expressed willingness to work on reducing fears about Iran’s nuclear aims since reformist Iranian President Hassan Rouhani took office in August……

October 29, 2013 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

US State Dept official offends Iran with provocative comments

The Comment That Offended Iranians More Than a Nuclear Threat Iran’s leaders don’t worry we’ll nuke them. They worry we’ll never trust them. By  @Crowley TIME    24 Oct 13, Octogenarian billionaire and GOP megdaonor Sheldon Adelson caused a ruckus Wednesday by suggesting that the U.S. lob a nuclear missile into the Iranian desert. The idea, as Adelson described it, was to issue a warning shot that would show Tehran “we mean business” in nuclear negotiations. American media outlets hyped Adelson’s characteristically hawkish fantasy. But Iran appeared unperturbed by his talk of a nuclear first strike.

That’s because the real furor in Tehran now is over another provocative remark, this one from Wendy Sherman, a senior State Department official who is America’s lead negotiator in talks with Iran. In recent testimony to Congress, Sherman said that the U.S. had to be cautious about cutting a deal with Tehran, because recent experience with the Iranians over their nuclear program—which Iran has repeatedly concealed—shows that “deception is part of the DNA.”

“Sherman’s DNA comment has created a big stir in Iran,” says Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “Adelson not so much.”

How could a diplomatic slight like Sherman’s outweigh Adelson’s talk of a nuclear first strike?

One reason has to do with the messengers. Adelson may bankroll Republicans, but he’s not setting American policy. And no one takes seriously his fantasy of a nuclear shot across Tehran’s bow.

Sherman, by contrast, speaks directly for the U.S. government. That’s why conservative leaders and media outlets in Iran are lashing out at what they call Sherman’s insult, uttered at a Senate hearing earlier this month. One hard-line paper is calling for a boycott of the talks if she’s present. A cartoon published by Iran’s Fars news agency depicts Sherman as a broom-riding witch…….

the flap also goes to a core problem with the nuclear talks: mutual distrust. The U.S. worries that Iran is feigning flexibility to win relief from sanctions, with no real intent to halt its nuclear program. Iran thinks America sees the nuclear issue as a stalking horse for regime change. The parallel suspicions could make a deal impossible……


October 26, 2013 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Iran pauses uranium enrichment

Iran temporarily halts 20% uranium enrichment: Tehran (AFP) – 7 News 24 Oct 13  Iran has temporarily halted its production of enriched uranium to 20 percent purity as it has sufficient stocks to fuel its Tehran research reactor, a lawmaker was quoted Thursday as saying.

“There is no production at all … as right now there is no need for the production of 20 percent (enriched) uranium,” the parliament website reported conservative MP Hossein Naqavi Hosseini as saying.

Iran’s nuclear enrichment programme is at the core of its dispute with world powers, who suspect it masks a drive for atomic weapons despite repeated denials by the Islamic republic….. Demands that the programme be halted were again put forward earlier this year in the Kazakh city of Almaty, in talks between Iran and the P5+1 group — the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia plus Germany.

The halting of the sensitive work could be crucial in resolving the long-running showdown in the negotiations, which were revived last week in Geneva and are set to resume in November.

In the talks, Iran is seeking the lifting of international sanctions which have damaged its struggling economy. World powers for their part are seeking to ensure that Tehran is not able to develop nuclear weapons.

October 25, 2013 Posted by | Iran, politics | Leave a comment

Iran prevents latest nuclear sabotage plan

flag-IranIran foils nuclear plant sabotage plot  Sunday October 6, 2013 Iran has arrested four people suspected of attempting to sabotage one of its nuclear plants, Atomic Energy Organisation chief Ali Akbar Salehi says. ‘Some time ago, we uncovered sabotage activities by several people at a nuclear plant,’ Salehi said in comments carried by the Mehr news agency on Sunday.

‘We let them continue their activities so that we could gather more intelligence. ‘We arrested them at the appropriate moment and their interrogation is ongoing.’ Salehi did not specify which of Iran’s nuclear plants was targeted.

In August last year, saboteurs blew up power lines supplying Iran’s underground uranium enrichment plant at Fardo outside the central city of Qom.

In 2010, a US cyber-attack, reportedly carried out in collaboration with Israel, hit Iran’s nuclear facilities. The Stuxnet virus was tailored specifically to target uranium enrichment facilities. ‘There are still viruses out there but we have taken the necessary measures,’ Salehi said.

‘Since we uncovered the Stuxnet virus, we have reinforced our protection systems and a special unit has been set up.’ In recent years, Iran has detained a number of alleged US or Israeli agents accused of spying on, or attempting to sabotage, its nuclear program. Several Iranian nuclear engineers have also been killed in what Tehran says were assassinations by foreign intelligence services.

October 6, 2013 Posted by | incidents, Iran | Leave a comment


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