Entries in IAEA (14)


Iran Makes 'Baseless' Accusations Against UN's Nuclear Watchdog

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(TEHRAN, Iran) -- Iran is again using familiar tactics to keep its nuclear program from coming under closer international scrutiny.

The latest ploy is accusing "saboteurs" of infiltrating the United Nations' nuclear watchdog group, which is seen as an effort to prevent inspectors from visiting its Parchin military installation where new activities have been reported.

Yukiya Amano, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, scoffed at what he considers Tehran's latest attempt to block the group from conducting inspections.

Amano said the allegations the watchdog has been infiltrated or passing along information to Western intelligence agencies were "baseless."

There are suspicions that the Iranian military is involved in a massive clean-up at Parchin to get rid of any evidence of illicit nuclear activities.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


West Will Talk Tough Despite Apparent Iran-IAEA Deal

IIPA via Getty Images(BAGHDAD) -- The White House warily welcomed news Tuesday of Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency coming to an agreement to allow U.N. inspectors access to key nuclear scientists and research facilities that have been barred to them up to now.

Tehran is hoping that this move ahead of Wednesday's summit in Bahgdad with the U.S. and five other nations will give it the upper hand in talks to greatly reduce Iran's nuclear activities.

Obama administration press secretary Jay Carney suggested to reporters that the world has been down this road before with Iran.

While acknowledging that it was a step forward in the long dispute with Iran, Carney stressed, "Promises are one thing, actions and fulfillment of obligations are another."

Despite the prospects of open access to IAEA monitors, the so-called "5+1" bloc made up of the United States, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia will press Iran to lower its uranium enrichment levels, making it impossible to create atomic bombs.

The Iranian government maintains that its program is purely for peaceful purposes, a claim doubted by virtually all of America's allies.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Iran to Allow IAEA Inspectors into Secret Military Facility

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(TEHRAN, Iran) -- Iran will grant inspectors from the United Nations' nuclear watchdog agency permission to see one of its secret military facilities, state media reported on Tuesday.

Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency will be allowed to visit the Parchin military facility, which is suspected of building explosive components that could be used for a nuclear weapon.  Iran has previously denied access to the site and denies there are any nuclear facilities there.

The announcement comes after Monday's meeting between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Iran's nuclear program.  The two leaders are in talks on how best to discourage Iran from continuing with any plans to manufacture a nuclear weapon.

While Israel has suggested striking Iran militarily, the U.S. has been pushing more for diplomacy and sanctions.

Speaking before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee on Monday, Netanyahu pressed on, saying: "Israel has waited patiently for the international community to resolve this issue.  We've waited for diplomacy to work.  We've waited for sanctions to work.  None of us can afford to wait much longer."

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


IAEA Concerned Over Iran's Nuclear Intentions

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The International Atomic Energy Agency says it has "serious concerns" about a possible military dimension to Iran's nuclear program.

Iran continues to insist it intends only to generate energy, but the IAEA said Iran is not cooperating so it cannot "conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities."

The confidential report, obtained by ABC News, comes two days after Iran refused to allow inspectors into one of its military sites and at a time of heightened tension.  The FBI has put agents across the United States on alert for any possible Iran-related threat.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Iran Invites UN Inspectors to Stay Longer

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(TEHRAN, Iran) -- Iran on Monday extended an invitation to International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors to stay beyond their three-day trip to monitor Iranian nuclear facilities.

The United Nations nuclear watchdog is visiting various nuclear sites in an attempt to verify the country's claims that it is generating power for peaceful purposes.  The West has long doubted this story, asserting that Tehran is close to developing an atomic bomb that threatens stability in the region.

As a result, the U.S. and Europe have slapped even tougher sanctions on Iran, which threatens its oil sales, the lifeblood of the nation.

That likely explains why Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said the IAEA delegation can remain in Iran longer to do their work.  Furthermore, Salehi boasted that a "new atmosphere" has been created both from the visit and the possibility of renewed talks with six super powers to reach a resolution over Iran's nuclear program.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


US Slaps Iran with More Sanctions over Nuclear Weapon Fears

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The White House slapped Iran with yet another round of sanctions on Monday for failing to shut down its illicit nuclear program and an alleged plot to kill the Saudi ambassador on U.S. soil.

In a statement, President Obama said, "As long as Iran continues down this dangerous path, the United States will continue to find ways, both in concert with our partners and through our own actions to isolate and increase the pressure upon the Iranian regime."

The new penalties are intended to hurt Iran's oil producing industry as well as labeling Iran as a "primary money-laundering concern."

It was expected that the administration would take action after a recent study by the International Atomic Energy Agency found that Iran has exceeded fears on just how far its come along with its nuclear ambitions.

Britain also announced its own sanctions against Iran, cutting off all financial ties with Tehran, while Canada said that it would suspend nearly all financial dealings with the Iranian government.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Colin Powell Cautions Against Military Action on Iran Nuclear Program

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Former Secretary of State Colin Powell cautioned U.S. leaders to "think very, very carefully" before pursuing military options in response to a new report showing Iran continuing attempts to build a nuclear device.

Powell instead pushed for increased pressure through sanctions and diplomatic pressure.

"I think the U.S. ought to keep the sanctions on and try to increase the pressure on the Iranian regime," Powell told ABC's This Week anchor Christiane Amanpour in an interview to air later this month.  "And always the president has the military options, but I think those options are quite narrow.  And you'd better think very, very carefully before you start looking at that option too closely."

A new International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report from United Nations weapons inspectors last week presented new evidence that Iran has in recent years continued key actions toward building a nuclear weapon, despite repeated denials.

"I never had any doubt that Iran was working on the technology associated with nuclear programs and development of a device," Powell said.  "In fact when I sort of made this point some years ago, I was criticized in the press as hyping it.  So, I have no illusions about that."

"But as the IAEA also said, they're not sure whether or not they're going to go all the way forward with a nuclear device," Powell said of Iran's intentions.

In Saturday evening's GOP presidential foreign policy debate, several candidates called for aggressive action to prevent Iran from reaching nuclear capability, including military action if other means failed.

Powell, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, refused to engage in a hypothetical discussion of where such military action could lead.

"This kind of discussion seems to me just raises the temperature and makes it that much more difficult to try to find a solution to the problem," Powell said.  "And so the international community should continue to apply pressure on the Iranians."

"The military option is always there, but I'm not sure how good that military option ultimately is if they're digging and burying," he added of Iran's efforts to hide its nuclear efforts.  "And if you had a military option that did nothing more than delay them for a few years, would that be worth the other political costs associated with the use of a military option?"

Powell also said he is uncertain if it is inevitable that Iran will produce a nuclear weapon, saying instead that the focus should be to prevent further movement toward a nuclear device.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Mystery Radiation Detected 'Across Europe'

Comstock/Thinkstock(VIENNA, Austria) -- Officials are searching for the source of low level radiation detected in the atmosphere "across Europe" over the past several days, nuclear officials said Friday.

Trace amounts of iodine-131, a type of radiation created during the operation of nuclear reactors or in the detonation of a nuclear weapon, were detected by the Czech Republic's State Office for Nuclear Safety starting two weeks ago.

After the group reported its findings to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Agency released a statement Friday revealing similar detections had been made "in other locations across Europe."

The IAEA said the current levels of iodine-131 are not high enough to warrant a public health risk, but the agency still does not know the origin of the apparent leak and an official with the agency would not say where exactly it has been detected outside the Czech Republic.

The IAEA said it does not believe the radiation was left over from the nuclear disaster at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi plant in March and the Czech Republic's State Office for Nuclear Safety could only say the source was "likely outside the territory of the [Czech] Republic."

"Anywhere spent nuclear fuel is handled, there is a chance that... iodine-131 will escape into the environment," the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says on its website.

According to the EPA, iodine-131 can get into the environment after leaking from cracked fuel rods in nuclear plants and, when ingested in higher doses, can lead to thyroid problems. This particular type of radiation is relatively short-lived, with an estimated half-life of about eight days.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Panetta Warns Against Military Strike on Iran

PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A military strike against Iran to stop its illicit nuclear program might do more harm than good, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned Thursday.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations' nuclear watchdog group, released a report this week that described Iran as possibly further along in the development of atomic weapons than originally believed despite Tehran's claim its program is only for peaceful purposes.

Reports out of Israel suggest a preemptive strike is being readied against its longtime enemy, but Panetta said that no such plans are being crafted by the U.S.

The defense chief cautioned that knocking out Iran's nuclear facilities may only delay their goals for a few years and "could have a serious impact on the region and it could have a serious impact on U.S. forces in the region."

Panetta maintained that the U.S. is committed to diplomatic ways of defusing the crisis, including slapping even more sanctions on Iran and insisted that a military strike was a last resort option.

When asked what would happen if sanctions ultimately fail, Panetta conceded, "I think our hope is that we don't reach that point and that Iran decides that it should join the international family."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


IAEA Report Warns of Iran's Commitment to Building Nuclear Weapons

Dieter Nagl/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Iran's contention that its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes received another damning blow Tuesday as a United Nations watchdog group's report spoke of "Credible ... information indicates that Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device."

The U.S. and its Western allies have long maintained that Tehran is attempting to stockpile a nuclear arsenal to launch a possible attack on Israel or, at the very least, upset the balance of power in the Middle East.

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran has tried to develop an atomic bomb for years and prior to 2003, did so under a structured program that has since gone underground to escape scrutiny from its enemies.

However, the IAEA says that it has documents, intelligence and satellite photos to back up its claim about "possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program."

In addition to seeking equipment to build weapons and developing pathways for the production of nuclear materials, the U.N. group claims Iran has sought "nuclear weapons development information and documentation from a clandestine nuclear supply network."

Iran has denied it's doing anything dangerous or illegal.

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi stated, "There is no serious proof that Iran is going to create a nuclear warhead...We have repeatedly stated that we are not going to create nuclear weapons."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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