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Iran Nuclear Conflicts, News & updates

Discussion in 'International Politics' started by Hembo, Sep 28, 2011.

  1. brahmos_ii

    brahmos_ii Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    Iran and the "six" of international mediators (the permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) should find a different approach to solve Iran’s nuclear issue, said Friday the head of the Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.

    "The negotiators have realized that the approach to the problem so far has been wrong," - said Javed Zarif, speaking at a conference in Istanbul. The next round of negotiations between the "six" international mediators (the permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) and Iran will be held in Geneva on 7 and 8 November.

    The third round of talks ended on October 16th in which the sides discussed the need for a new plan to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue. Iran wants international sanctions to be lifted and allow Tehran to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes.
    Iranian Foreign Minister asks to find better ways to solve the nuclear issue - News - Politics - Russian Radio
     
  2. Marqueur

    Marqueur Peaceful Silence ELITE MEMBER

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    John Kerry to join Iran nuclear talks as hopes of deal rise

    GENEVA: US secretary of state John Kerry will join nuclear talks between major powers and Iran in Geneva on Friday in an attempt to nail down a long-elusive accord to start resolving a decade-old standoff over Tehran's atomic aims.

    Kerry, on a Middle East tour, will fly to the Swiss city at the invitation of European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in "an effort to help narrow differences" in the negotiations, a senior State Department official said.

    Ashton is coordinating talks with Iran on behalf of the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany.

    After the first day of meetings set for Thursday and Friday, both sides said progress had been made towards an initial agreement under which the Islamic state would curb some of its nuclear activities in exchange for limited relief from punitive measures that are severely damaging its oil-dependent economy.

    US President Barack Obama said the international community could slightly ease sanctions against Iran in the early stages of negotiating a comprehensive deal on Tehran's atomic programme to remove fears about Iranian nuclear intentions.

    "There is the possibility of a phased agreement in which the first phase would be us, you know, halting any advances on their nuclear programme ... and putting in place a way where we can provide them some very modest relief, but keeping the sanctions architecture in place," he said in an interview with NBC News.

    Negotiators in Geneva cautioned, however, that work remained to be done in the coming hours in very complex talks and that a successful outcome was not guaranteed. Iran rejects Western accusations that it is seeking a nuclear bomb capability.

    Kerry said in Israel, Iran's arch foe, that Tehran would need to prove that its atomic activities were peaceful, and that Washington would not make a "bad deal, that leaves any of our friends or ourselves exposed to a nuclear weapons programme".

    "We're asking them to step up and provide a complete freeze over where they are today," he said in a joint interview with Israel's Channel 2 television and Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation recorded in Jerusalem on Thursday.

    In Geneva, Iranian deputy foreign minister Abbas Araqchi said it was too early to say with certainty whether a deal would be possible this week, although he voiced cautious optimism.

    "Too soon to say," Araqchi told reporters after the first day of talks between Iran and the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany. He added, "I'm a bit optimistic."

    "We are still working. We are in a very sensitive phase. We are engaged in real negotiations."

    The fact that an agreement may finally be within reach after a decade of frustrated efforts and hostility between Iran and the West was a sign of a dramatic shift in Tehran's foreign policy since the election of a relative moderate, Hassan Rouhani, as Iranian president in June.

    The United States and its allies are aiming for a "first-step" deal that would stop Iran from further expanding a nuclear programme that it has steadily built up in defiance of tightening international pressure and crippling sanctions.

    The Islamic Republic, which holds some of the world's largest oil and gas reserves, wants them to lift increasingly tough restrictions that have slashed its daily crude sales revenue by 60 percent in the last two years.

    Both sides have limited room to manoeuvre, as hardliners in Tehran and hawks in Washington would likely sharply criticise any agreement they believed went too far in offering concessions to the other side.

    US Senate may seek more sanctions

    Lending urgency to the need for a breakthrough was a threat by the US Congress to pursue tough new sanctions on Iran.

    Obama has been pushing Congress to hold off on more sanctions against Iran, demanded by Israel, to avoid undermining the diplomacy aimed at defusing fears of an Iranian advance towards nuclear arms capability.

    But many US lawmakers, including several of Obama's fellow Democrats, believe tough sanctions brought Iran to the negotiating table and that more are needed to discourage it from building a nuclear bomb.

    Ashton's spokesman said on Thursday evening that the powers and Iran were "making progress" towards easing the standoff.

    Iran's foreign minister and chief negotiator, Mohammad Javad Zarif, told Reuters earlier in the day: "I'm hopeful that we can move forward. We are making progress, but it's tough."

    In an interview with CNN later, Zarif suggested that a partial suspension of Iran's contested uranium enrichment campaign might be possible - a concession it ruled out before moderate Rouhani's landslide election.

    "There won't be a suspension of our enrichment programme in its entirety," Zarif said, rejecting Israel's central demand.

    But he said he hoped the sides would agree on a joint statement on Friday stipulating a goal to be reached "within a limited period of time, hopefully in less than a year", and a series of reciprocal actions they would take "to build confidence and address their most immediate concerns."

    Iran says it is enriching uranium only to fuel future nuclear power stations and for medical purposes. But its refusal to halt activity which can also have military applications has led to draconian US, EU and U.N. sanctions.

    The United States said it also held "substantive and serious" bilateral talks with Iran in Geneva - direct dialogue inconceivable before Rouhani took office pledging to build bridges abroad and end a slide towards conflict with the West.

    Iran and the United States have had no diplomatic ties since soon after the 1979 Islamic Revolution that overthrew the US-backed monarchy, and their mutual mistrust and enmity have posed the biggest obstacle to any breakthrough nuclear accord.

    Israel sees 'historic' mistake

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he disliked the outlines of an initial deal being hinted at in Geneva since it would allow Iran to keep a nuclear capability.

    "Israel totally opposes these proposals," he said in a speech. "I believe that adopting them would be a mistake of historic proportions. They must be rejected outright."

    Widely assumed to be the Middle East's only nuclear power, Israel views Iran as a threat to its existence and has warned it could carry out pre-emptive strikes on Iranian nuclear sites if diplomacy fails to restrain the programme.

    Israel has campaigned against compromise proposals under discussion in Geneva, describing them as potentially "a mistake of historic proportions".

    Araqchi met for an hour with US delegation chief Wendy Sherman, undersecretary of state for political affairs, in a meeting that a senior State Department official described as a "substantive and serious conversation".

    The United States and its allies say they are encouraged by Tehran's shift to softer rhetoric since the election of Rouhani. But Western allies say Iran must back its words with action and take concrete steps to scale back its atomic work.

    Washington says that would buy time for Iran and the powers to reach a broader diplomatic settlement and avert any war that could cause global economic upheaval.

    "It remains our assessment that Iran would need at least one year to acquire one nuclear weapon from the time that Iran decides to pursue one," White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

    The exact nature of a possible first step remains unclear. But the six global powers are unlikely to agree on anything less than a suspension of enrichment of uranium to 20 percent fissile purity, a level that constitutes a technical milestone not far from the threshold for a nuclear warhead.

    They want Iran to convert its stockpile of 20 percent uranium to an oxide form suitable for processing into reactor fuel, and take other measures to slow the programme.

    A senior aide to a US senator briefed by the White House and State Department said Washington would offer to work with Iran in a six-month confidence-building period. During that time, Washington would offer Tehran, among other things, relaxed restrictions on Iranian funds held in overseas accounts.

    John Kerry to join Iran nuclear talks as hopes of deal rise - The Times of India
     
  3. Marqueur

    Marqueur Peaceful Silence ELITE MEMBER

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    Iran nuclear talks end without breakthrough: France
    Reuters | Nov 10, 2013, 05.18 AM IST
    Iran nuclear talks end without breakthrough: France
    Iranian foreign minister said on Saturday that if there was no agreement this weekend, "the process will continue in one week or 10 days".
    GENEVA: French foreign minister Laurent Fabius said on Sunday that nuclear talks between Iran and global powers had finished without an agreement but that they would continue at a later date.

    "From the start, France wanted an agreement to the important question of Iran's nuclear program. The Geneva meeting allowed us to advance, but we were not able to conclude because there are still some questions to be addressed," Fabius told reporters early on the fourth day of ministerial talks in the Swiss city.

    European Union (EU) foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton will announce that senior political officials, followed by ministers, would meet again to try to clinch a deal, he said.

    Ministers from Iran and the major powers held a series of meetings late on Saturday in a final push to hammer out the outline of a deal that would freeze parts of Iran's atomic program in exchange for sanctions relief.

    "Efforts to secure an agreement are continuing with great intensity," a Western diplomat close to the talks said on Saturday before the talks ended.

    The latest round of negotiations began on Thursday and US secretary of state John Kerry unexpectedly arrived on Friday to help narrow remaining differences between Iran and the six nations.

    Fabius, British Foreign Secretary William Hague and their counterparts from Russia and Germany, Sergei Lavrov and Guido Westerwelle, also attended, along with Chinese vice foreign minister Li Baodong, demonstrating the six-nation group's commitment to reaching the kind of agreement with Iran that has eluded the West for a decade.

    Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Saturday that if there was no agreement this weekend, "the process will continue in one week or 10 days".

    Fabius told France Inter radio on Saturday that Paris could not accept a "fool's game".

    His pointed remarks hinted at a rift within the Western camp. A Western diplomat close to the negotiations said the French were trying to upstage the other powers.

    "The Americans, the EU and the Iranians have been working intensively together for months on this proposal, and this is nothing more than an attempt by Fabius to insert himself into relevance late in the negotiations," the diplomat told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

    In a further sign that the cordiality that had reigned in the talks so far was dissipating, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi told Mehr news agency that his counterparts from the six powers "need constant coordination and consultation in order to determine (their) stances".

    The main sticking points in the talks include calls for a shutdown of an Iranian reactor that could eventually help to produce weapons-grade nuclear fuel, the fate of Iran's stockpile of higher-enriched uranium, and the nature and sequencing of relief from economic sanctions sought by Tehran.

    The powers remain concerned that Iran is continuing to amass enriched uranium not for future nuclear power stations, as Tehran says, but as potential fuel for nuclear warheads.

    They are searching for a preliminary agreement that would restrain Iran's nuclear program and make it more transparent for UN anti-proliferation inspectors. In exchange, Tehran would obtain phased, initially limited, relief from the sanctions throttling the economy of the giant OPEC state.
     
  4. brahmos_ii

    brahmos_ii Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    US President Barack Obama has announced Tuesday he decided to extend the state of emergency against Iran for another year.

    According to the US President, the decision was made as “our relations with Iran have not yet returned to normal”.

    "This is a routine renewal of the policy and is not new or connected in any way to the Geneva discussion," an Obama administration official said, referring to the recent nuclear talks between world powers and Iran in Switzerland. "The previous order did not expire — we must renew it to prevent it from expiring."

    The United States ended diplomatic ties with Iran on April 7, 1980. This occurred after militants seized control of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran on November 4, 1979 and took dozens of embassy workers hostage.

    There have been tensions for years between the United States and Iran over Tehran's nuclear aspirations.

    The United States and allies have long believed Iran wants to build nuclear weapons. Iran, however, says it only wants to use nuclear power for peaceful purposes.

    The question whether it should be cancelled is being discussed in Washington on a daily basis.

    Progress toward reaching an agreement over the nuclear program has been made in recent months after the election of President Hassan Rouhani, seen as more moderate and pragmatic than his predecessor.

    Obama extends state of emergency against Iran for another year - News - World - The Voice of Russia: News, Breaking news, Politics, Economics, Business, Russia, International current events, Expert opinion, podcasts, Video
     
  5. brahmos_ii

    brahmos_ii Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    Among divided opinions about the outcome of talks over Tehran's disputed nuclear program in Geneva last week, Michael Mann, a Spokesman for the EU's High Representative and Vice-President, Catherine Ashton, says that these talks are "an extremely complicated and technical issue and it is something that’s been going on and off for ten years now". However in an exclusive interview with Voice of Russia, Mr. Mann stated that negotiators "did make progress".



    What can you tell us about the progress of negotiations between Iran and world powers on nuclear issues? Has it been achieved and, if not, why?

    Well, a great deal of progress has actually been made. As you know, we were in Geneva last week, from Thursday to the early hours of Sunday morning. And it was really a set of intensive negotiations throughout those whole three days. Clearly, this is an extremely complicated and technical issue. And it is something that’s been going on and off for ten years now. So, it is clear that it is not going to be sorted out, just like that, overnight.

    So, we did make progress. We didn’t have the big agreement that some people were anticipating. But I think, really, the point that my boss Catherine Ashton made after the tour was that this is a complicated issue and we need to make sure that we do the deal properly. So, that is why negotiators are going to gather in Geneva again next week to continue the talks and, hopefully, take things even further forward.

    Still Sir, as you’ve rightly mentioned, the anticipations were high. What stumbling blocks do you see in the negotiations process now?

    It is like any negotiation. Here you have the E3+3 or the P5+1 chaired by Catherine Ashton of the EU talking with the Iranians about the Iranian program. And the ultimate aim here is to get a watertight and verifiable agreement under which Iran reassures the international community that its nuclear program is purely for peaceful purposes and they are not interested in a military program. Clearly, that’s a difficult process. It is difficult for the Iranians, they will have to move a long way. They’ve been digging their heels in over the last few years and we need them to really engage properly and make some undertakings that will reassure the international community.

    And anything of this sort – a) it is very political b) it is very technical. And that’s why it takes a long time. There are a lot of rather speculative press reports after the negotiations about why they hadn’t succeeded. But I think you have to be realistic and realize that after ten years of full stop to get an agreement just like that overnight would have been somewhat miraculous. So, you know, these things take time and we will make sure that we do the job absolutely properly, even if it takes a little while. And there is a question of poring over the details and making sure that it is a deal that is watertight and everybody can live with.

    Mr. Mann, you’ve just mentioned those two general factors – technical ones and political ones. Let’s start with political ones. Iran was blaming the US and vice versa. The US was blaming Iran for the failure to reach better results and Iran was blaming the differences between the Western powers. What is your estimation of that?

    I think it is important for us as a kind of convener and organizer of the talks not to get involved in any kind of public debates or any rather difficult tit-for-tat. Really, that’s not our interest. Our interest is to talk about the substance. All sides agreed I think last Sunday in the early hours of the morning that a great deal of progress had been made. And of course, as I’ve already explained, when you’ve got two sides who have been talking for such a long time, they have to sometimes take a time out and go back to capitals and consult with their political bosses.

    So, you know, I don’t think there is anything that we should be getting too upset about. We are just determined to continue the work. An enormous amount of progress was made in the last two rounds of talks in Geneva under the new Iranian Government. And we hope that that will be carried forward. I mean, I’m not really supposed to get into the details of the talks but I think doing it in public is probably not the best thing. We want to keep the negotiations in the negotiation room.

    In this case Sir, could you generally elaborate on what do you think forced Iran to actually be more friendly and be inclined to have those negotiations, and to move forward more decisively?

    As you know, we have what we call “a twin-track approach” where we are putting sanctions specifically against the Iranian nuclear program because the evidence points to this not being a purely peaceful program. They are enriching uranium to a level that doesn’t need to be enriched to that level for peaceful purposes. Therefore, we’ve targeted their nuclear program with sanction, not only UN sanctions but also autonomous EU sanctions and, at the same time, we are negotiating with them.

    The new President was elected in June on a program of wanting to open up to the international community. And his Foreign Minister has carried that through as the chief negotiator in the nuclear talks. So, I really think the sanctions, which are directed purely at the program and not aimed in any way at the Iranian people, I think they have focused the minds in Tehran and I think the Iranian authorities really want to make progress on this, because they see that it is good for them. At the moment their economy is under a lot of pressure because of the sanctions.

    Let’s get to the EU. Apart from bringing those differences to public, what else can the EU do to keep the process going and eventually lead to a final agreement?

    The UE is chairing the talks on behalf of the six countries. It is mandated by the UN Security Council to do so. And that’s what Catherine Ashton has been doing. And I think her role has been absolutely crucial in this. She has managed to keep the talks moving in the right direction, even though under the previous Iranian Government there was a lack of willingness on their part to actually engage. So, we’ve kept it going.

    But of course, no one is interested in talking just for the sake of talking, we needed to make progress. So, she spent three intensive days last week in a number of meetings with the Iranians, with all the other parties to the talks as well, making sure that everybody was talking to each other. The contacts have continued of course since last Sunday, when it finished. And that’s why we’ve arranged to have some talks again, starting next Wednesday to try and keep the momentum going. So, Catherine Ashton’s main focus is to keep the momentum going, bring the parties together and really pore over the issues that are still outstanding in the hopes of getting a final agreement.

    And as I understand, from what you are saying there are many stages ahead of this long process. Can we see any breakthrough in the talks with Iran in the near future or it is a matter of months, if not years?

    Well, it is always dangerous to speculate on timing, because if what you say doesn't come to pass – people ask questions “why?”. So, we’ve stayed clear of making predictions. But what we do say all the time is that we are not interested in talking forever. We want to agree something quickly but, at the same time, we want to agree something that is good, solid and watertight. So, it will take as long as it takes, but it can’t take too long. And I think that the Iranians would probably share that view, that they want to agree something fairly quickly. So, hopefully, we can make rapid progress. But again, I must underline – we are not going to do anything unless we do it properly.

    And my last question Sir. I remember the Iranian side said something quite critical of John Kerry’s latest statements. They said something like his statements put in jeopardy the future of the process. So, is that a matter of rhetoric or the process is really in jeopardy?

    No, I don’t think the process is in jeopardy. I think we’ve agreed between ourselves – between the EU and its partners and the Iranians – to come together in just a week’s time, preparations for that are already under way. So, we will continue to push and try and work between the different parties to find an agreement. We are determined that the talks will move things forward next week.
    Read more: Iran's nuclear program: 'not going to be sorted out' overnight - Ashton's spokesman - News - Politics - The Voice of Russia: News, Breaking news, Politics, Economics, Business, Russia, International current events, Expert opinion, pod
     
  6. brahmos_ii

    brahmos_ii Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    US Secretary of State John Kerry urged lawmakers to "calm down" on Wednesday over proposed new sanctions on Iran, warning they could scuttle diplomatic efforts to rein in Tehran's nuclear drive.

    "The risk is that if Congress were to unilaterally move to raise sanctions, it could break faith with those negotiations and actually stop them and break them apart," Kerry said.

    Washington's top diplomat was speaking before beginning a closed-door meeting with senators, many of whom are skeptical of the White House's request for a freeze on new sanctions.

    The House of Representatives has already passed legislation that toughens already-strict sanctions on Iran, whose economy by all accounts is reeling from the punitive action.

    The Senate Banking Committee is mulling new sanctions too, and some key members of President Barack Obama's own Democratic Party back a tougher stance despite the diplomatic opening.

    "What we're asking everybody to do is calm down, look hard at what can be achieved and what the realities are," Kerry told reporters.

    "Let's give them a few weeks, see if it works," he said, adding that there was "unity" among the six powers -- UN Security Council permanent members Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, plus Germany -- negotiating with the Islamic republic.

    "If this doesn't work, we reserve the right to dial back up the sanctions."

    In that event Kerry said he would return to Capitol Hill "asking for increased sanctions. And we always reserve the military option."

    Washington and Western allies allege Iran is trying to develop a nuclear weapon, a charge Tehran denies.

    Obama has vowed he will not allow Tehran to develop an atomic weapon. But last week's Geneva negotiations between Iran and six world powers failed to reach an interim deal to halt its program.

    Kerry faces tough questions from Senate Republicans and Democrats who bristled when the White House warned Tuesday that toughening sanctions could trigger a "march to war."

    The administration's remarks marked a significant hardening of Obama's stance towards Congress on sanctions as Washington prepares to resume talks with Iran on November 20.

    As he entered the meeting, Kerry addressed criticism that negotiations failed in Geneva, saying Iran would have jumped at the interim deal if it was to their benefit.

    "We have a pause because it's a tough proposal, and people need to think about it, obviously," Kerry said.
     
  7. brahmos_ii

    brahmos_ii Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    Iran has not expanded its nuclear facilities in the last three months, a UN atomic watchdog report showed Thursday, in a possible confidence-building measure by Tehran before talks next week.

    The International Atomic Energy Agency said that only four new uranium enrichment centrifuges were operating at its Natanz plant and no additional machines at the Fordo facility.

    The International Atomic Energy Agency said that only four new uranium enrichment centrifuges were operating at Iran's Natanz plant and no additional machines at the Fordo facility.

    It also said that Iran has also not begun operating any new-generation IR-2M centrifuges and that "no ... major components" had been installed at a reactor being built at Arak.

    The faster IR-2M centrifuges are of concern to the international community because in theory they shorten the time needed by Iran to produce enough weapons-grade uranium for a nuclear bomb.

    The reactor at Arak is a worry because it could provide Iran with plutonium, an alternative to uranium for a nuclear weapon, once it has been up and running for 12-18 months.

    The quarterly IAEA report, the first since President Hassan Rouhani took office in August, was released ahead of a new round of talks between Iran and world powers in Geneva next week.

    Three gruelling days of talks that involved US Secretary of State John Kerry and other foreign ministers ended with no agreement in the early hours of Sunday morning.

    The United States, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany (the P5+1) want Iran to scale back the most sensitive parts of its nuclear programme.

    In return Iran wants UN and Western sanctions that have been causing the Islamic republic considerable economic problems eased soon, and its "right" to enrich uranium recognised.
     
  8. brahmos_ii

    brahmos_ii Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    Iran's nuclear reactor being built at Arak figured highly in recent failed talks between Tehran and six world powers in Geneva, with France in particular wanting want work there stopped.

    The so-called "heavy water" reactor is of concern because, in theory, it could provide the Islamic republic with plutonium -- an alternative to highly enriched uranium used for a nuclear bomb.


    Once completed, Iran could extract from Arak's spent fuel between five and 10 kilogrammes (10-20 pounds) of weapons-grade plutonium a year, enough for one nuclear weapon, experts estimate.

    Iran denies wanting to do any such thing, saying the reactor in western Iran, known as the IR-40, will be used to produce medical isotopes and for research.

    Israel, widely believed to have nuclear weapons itself, has refused to rule out bombing Arak, as it is assumed to have done to an Iraqi reactor in 1981 and to a Syrian facility in 2007.

    But experts say that the reactor, plagued by delays in construction, is a long way from being even close to as much concern as uranium enrichment.

    Iran has almost enough uranium enriched to purities of 20 percent -- close to weapons-grade -- for a bomb's worth, if it chose to further enrich to this level.

    At present, such a "break out" would be detected by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN watchdog.

    But with the uranium stockpile growing and Iran installing more and more centrifuges, some more modern and faster, the worry is that one day it could do this so quickly that the IAEA would not notice in time.

    Living with Arak

    The IAEA, which monitors Arak, said in August that a planned start-up in the first quarter of 2014 was no longer achievable, and it remains unclear when it will come into operation.

    Once it is, it needs to run for 12-18 months to produce spent fuel that could be used to extract plutonium, said Shannon Kile from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

    Moreover, Iran does not have a declared reprocessing facility to extract the plutonium, and a secret one would quickly be detected.

    "Reprocessing facilities are large and produce radionuclide gaseous products which can be detected by environmental sampling, and that's true whether you have (IAEA) inspectors on the ground or not -- it can be done by airborne means for example," Kile told AFP.

    Many analysts believe therefore that world powers at the next meeting in Geneva on November 20 should tolerate Iran completing and operating the IR-40 -- provided there are additional agreements.

    These could include an undertaking by Iran to remove spent fuel from Arak to a third country or converting it to a less alarming "light water" reactor.

    "The powers, including France and Israel and everyone else, could live with Iran completing and operating the reactor," if such safeguards are in place, Mark Hibbs from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace told AFP.

    "Arak represents a long-term proliferation risk, not a near-term risk, and it can be addressed in the 'final phase' of negotiations" between Iran and the six world powers, said Daryl Kimball from the Arms Control Association.

    "France and the other P5+1 powers would be making a mistake if they hold up an interim deal that addresses more urgent proliferation risks over the final arrangements regarding Arak," he said.
     
  9. brahmos_ii

    brahmos_ii Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    US President Barack Obama on Thursday urged Congress not to expand sanctions against Iran, saying a temporary deal under discussion could halt Tehran's nuclear capability by at least months.

    Negotiations with Iran are the best way to ensure that Tehran does not acquire a nuclear weapon, meaning now is not the time to institute additional sanctions, US President Barack Obama said Thursday.

    "Let's test how willing they are to actually resolve this diplomatically and peacefully, Obama told a press conference, while stressing the military option remained on the table.

    He said he would encourage the US Congress not to move forward with proposed additional sanctions upon Iran, but instead allow ongoing talks to play out. That would mean offering some sanctions relief in return for concessions, while leaving most existing sanctions in place.

    "If we're serious about pursuing diplomacy, then there is no need for us to add new sanctions on top of the sanctions that are already very effective and that brought them to the table in the first place," he said. "Now, if it turns out they can't deliver - they can't come to the table in a serious way and get this issue resolved - the sanctions can be ramped back up."
     
  10. brahmos_ii

    brahmos_ii Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    Major powers and Iran are getting close to a first-stage agreement to curb Iran's nuclear program and it is "quite possible" a deal could be reached when they meet November 21-22 in Geneva, a senior US official told reporters.

    "I don't know if we will reach an agreement. I think it is quite possible that we can, but there are still tough issues to negotiate," said the official, saying EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif were to meet on November 20 in Geneva and a wider group - including Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States - would meet Iranian officials there on the following two days.

    The last talks failed on Saturday to seal a first step deal which would halt Iran's program in return for relief from crippling sanctions while all sides negotiate a final deal over the next six months.

    The US official said at the end of the marathon three-day talks in Geneva that the so-called P5+1 group had presented a "stronger" and "improved" draft deal to Iran which had "greater clarity" on a number of issues.

    The negotiations had ended in the early hours of Saturday morning "because I think the parties, particularly Iran, felt they needed to go back and look at this document which was quite tough, consider it and come back to negotiations," the US official said.

    While officials stuck to an agreement not to reveal details of the proposal on the table, it is understood it would give Iran access to "a tiny fraction" of its assets frozen in bank accounts around the world.

    Another senior administration official said as much as $100 billion in revenues from Iranian oil sales was stuck in global banking accounts.

    Iranian oil exports have fallen to around a million barrels a day, "dramatically down from an average of about two and a half million barrels a day in 2011," he said.

    "These declining exports are costing Iran up to $5 billion a month, and have cost Iran along with our other sanctions about $120 billion," he said.

    "So the relief that we are considering as part of the initial phase would be limited, temporary, targeted and reversible," he added.

    Shooting 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."
     
  11. brahmos_ii

    brahmos_ii Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    Russia expects that the upcoming round of negotiations between the P5+1 group and Iran opening in Geneva on Wednesday will be successful, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

    0"We expect the efforts that are being made now to be successful at the meeting opening in Geneva today," Lavrov said at a press conference following negotiations with Brazilian Foreign Minister Luiz Alberto Figueiredo on Wednesday.

    0High-stakes Iran nuclear talks to resume in Geneva on Wednesday

    0Iran and world powers resume talks seeking a landmark breakthrough over Tehran's nuclear programme that also satisfies sceptical hardliners in Washington, Israel and the Islamic republic.

    0The Geneva meeting takes place amid heightened Middle East tensions after twin suicide bombings outside the Iranian embassy in Beirut killed at least 23 people on Tuesday.

    0Iran blamed Israel and its "mercenaries".

    0Ten days after a high-drama gathering also in Geneva, Iran and the United States, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany - the P5+1 - have been cautiously optimistic a deal is possible this time.

    0Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who also posted a conciliatory but defiant message on YouTube ahead of the meeting, said in Rome that there was "every possibility for success".

    0It's unclear if deal on Iran's nuclear program is near - Obama at WSJ CEO forum

    0President Barack Obama said on Tuesday it is unclear whether major world powers and Iran will soon be able to reach an agreement on restricting Iran's nuclear program. With more talks set for this week, Obama injected a note of caution, telling a Wall Street Journal forum that, "We don't know if we'll be able to close a deal with Iran this week or next week."

    0Arguing that a proposed agreement should be accepted by skeptical US allies like Israel, Obama said an agreement with Iran now would buy some time to see if the world would be able to say Iran is not building a nuclear weapon.

    0He said the proposed deal would permit a modest lifting of economic sanctions on Tehran, allowing a small portion of Iranian assets to be unfrozen.

    0Obama is careful in how he describes the talks with Iran, though he defends some of the criticism of the talks the US and other countries are engaged in. He said Iran "would halt advances on their nuclear program. They would roll back some elements that would get them closer to what we call breakout capacity." He says in some cases there would be daily inspections. In return, the US would "open up the spigot a little bit" on sanctions.
    Read more: Russia expects negotiations between P5+1, Iran opening in Geneva to be successful - Lavrov - News - Politics - The Voice of Russia: News, Breaking news, Politics, Economics, Business, Russia, International current events, Expert opinion, podcasts, Vi
     
  12. brahmos_ii

    brahmos_ii Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    The coordination meeting of the six international mediators for the settlement of the Iranian nuclear problem began in Geneva on Wednesday, on the first day of the regular round of negotiations with Tehran.

    The meeting is attended only by political directors from Russia, the USA, China, France, Britain, Germany, as well as the coordinator of the Sextet - High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton.

    Traditionally, a plenary meeting of the Sextet with Iran will take place later. It is not clear yet, whether it will be held on Wednesday or it will be postponed till Thursday. It’s already known that Catherine Ashton’s joint lunch with head of the Iranian delegation, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif will take place on the first day of the negotiations.

    According to the participants of the negotiation process, great hopes for a breakthrough and expectations of signing a compromise agreement on Iran's nuclear program, which will allow to move forward, are connected with the current round of negotiations.
     
  13. brahmos_ii

    brahmos_ii Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    Iran intends to sign a specific agreement with the "six" of international mediators after the talks take place in Geneva this week. This was stated by Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iran, Mohammad Javad Zarif at a press conference in Rome after he met with the Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino.

    "I think there is every chance of success of the negotiations in Geneva. But a concrete solution can be reached only with the involvement of all concerned sides. We have made some progress, and I ‘m sure we can reach an agreement"- said the Iranian minister.

    The next meeting of the "six" of international mediators and Iran is scheduled on 20-22 November in Geneva.

    In the meeting, the Russian delegation will be led by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov.
     
  14. brahmos_ii

    brahmos_ii Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    A senior Iranian negotiator said "serious issues" continue to divide Tehran and world powers in talks over the country's nuclear drive after a "very useful" session in Geneva Thursday morning.

    "We had a very useful, intensive discussion" over "content and details" with representatives of the so-called P5+1 countries and their chief negotiator, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, ISNA news agency quoted Abbas Araqchi as saying.

    However, "some serious issues continue to be a source of difference over which we had serious discussions," Araqchi added.

    No deal without right to enrich uranium - Iran

    Iran will not sign up to a nuclear deal with world powers unless they accept its right to enrich uranium, its chief negotiator to talks in Geneva said Thursday.

    Iran will not sign up to a nuclear deal with world powers unless they accept its right to enrich uranium, its chief negotiator to talks in Geneva said Thursday.

    "No deal that does not include the right to uranium enrichment from start to finish will be accepted," Abbas Araghchi said on his Twitter account, quoted by official news agency IRNA.
     
  15. brahmos_ii

    brahmos_ii Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    Senior Iranian diplomat Arakchi Abbas said on Thursday, that the talks with the "six" of international mediators in Geneva was productive, but there are also some “serious differences”.

    "We had an intensive and productive discussion on the content and details of the agreement with the representatives of the "six" and the head of European diplomacy Catherine Ashton," - said Arakchi to the Iranian media.

    However, according to the diplomat, some major issues remain unresolved.

    Arakchi said -"reaching an agreement is possible, but the other side must be flexible." He added that overall the talks have been positive and both sides have the intention to solve the issue.

    Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif on Thursday said that the discussions with the head of European diplomacy Catherine Ashton in Geneva have been very productive and promising, Iranian media reported. The meeting between Zarif and Ashton took place in the first half of Thursday, and is expected to continue post lunch at 14:30 local time (13:30 GMT) .
     

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