Archive for the ‘IAEA’ Category

China and Russia May Accept Symbolic Sanctions

February 25, 2010

As the West is continuing to ratchet up pressure on Tehran over Iran’s nuclear program, it has been working to get the support of UN veto-wielding countries Russia and China. Now, there are some signs that those two countries may—at least symbolically—go along with sanctions.

Leaders from the United States, Britain, France and Germany have been debating targeted sanctions, while Russia and China have maintained hesitancy on sanctions. Now, Western nations are stepping up efforts to get Russia and China on board.

“It’s time to start haggling with the Russians and Chinese so we can get a sanctions text to the Security Council in the near future,” one Western diplomat was reported as saying. “We believe we can get their support, though it will come at a price.”
Tehran has already been targeted with three rounds of U.N. sanctions including, travel bans on certain officials and asset freezes aimed at individuals and companies involved in its nuclear and missile programs.
Iran, for its part, has proposed an alternative plan to the UN backed proposal originally offered last October, which Iran did not accept. Western countries, however, do not see Iran’s plan as feasible and have rejected it.

The sanctions debate has heated up as the International Atomic Energy Agency came out last week with a report showing signs that the Islamic Republic may be actively pursuing a nuclear weapons capability—a claim that Tehran denies.

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IAEA Says Iran Possibly Working on Nuclear Warhead

February 18, 2010

The International Atomic Energy Agency has announced concern that its information about Iran’s nuclear activities suggests Tehran may be working on a nuclear warhead, according to a classified report obtained by Agence France Presse today.

“The information available to the agency … raises concerns about the possible existence in Iran of past or current undisclosed activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile,” IAEA chief Yukiya Amano wrote in his first report to its board of governors.

This is the first time the IAEA has expressed such concern over Iran’s “current” activities.
According to the AFP, the report went on to confirm claims from Tehran earlier this month that the country had begun enriching uranium at the 20 percent level. Iran had previously been enriching uranium to the 3.5-5 percent level.

“Iran provided the agency with mass spectrometry results which indicate that enrichment levels of up to 19.8 percent (uranium) were obtained,” the AFP quoted the report as saying, adding that the enrichment was carried out at a plant in Natanz between February 9 and 11.

Despite the higher level of enrichment, uranium must be enriched to 90 percent or higher for it to be weapons grade.

After a UN proposed plan that Iran send 75-80 percent of its LEU abroad for further enrichment fell through, Iran announced it would begin enriching uranium to 20 percent, claiming it needed the enriched uranium for a research reactor that makes medical radioisotopes.

“On February 10, when the agency inspectors arrived at PFEP (Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant), they were informed that Iran had already begun to feed the UF6 (uranium hexafluoride) into one cascade the previous evening,” Amano’s report said.

The report also said Iran had moved most of its overall stockpile of low-enriched uranium—1,950 kilograms from an estimated total of 2,065 kilograms—for processing to higher levels.