Entries in International Atomic Energy Agency (9)


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


UN Watchdog Group: Iran Has Doubled Centrifuges to Enrich Uranium

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The Obama administration is still intent on resolving its issues with Iran's rogue nuclear program in a diplomatic fashion even as a report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) stated Thursday that Tehran has greatly increased its capacity of enriching uranium, a key step in developing atomic weapons.

According to the United Nations watchdog group, the number of centrifuges at Iran's Fordo nuclear facility has doubled to 2,140.

Israel is especially anxious about Iran's nuclear capabilities and has strongly suggested that it would act unilaterally to cripple the program with a preemptive military strike.

The White House, on the other hand, has been preaching patience even in the face of the threat Iran poses to Israel and the stability of the Middle East.

Responding to the news of the IAEA report on Thursday, White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters at his daily briefing, "The window of opportunity to resolve this diplomatically remains open, but it will not remain open indefinitely."

As for a possible Israeli attack, Carney said, "Our position has been that there is time and space, as I just reiterated, to resolve this diplomatically."

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


UN Nuclear Inspectors Visit Iran in Two-Day Tour

IIPA via Getty Image(TEHRAN, Iran) -- United Nations nuclear inspectors began a two-day tour of Iran on Monday.

The visit by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) comes a day after the Iran oil ministry announced a halt in oil exports to Britain and France in response to the European Union’s sanctions on the nation in January.  This will the second visit this year by the inspectors to Iran. A report on the visit is expected in few weeks.

Iran insists they are developing new energy sources, however, IAEA inspectors’ visit in November suggested the country may be moving towards developing nuclear weapons, prompting western countries to impose further sanctions on Iran.

The IAEA chief inspector says his priority in visiting Iran this week is to clarify "possible military dimensions" of the country’s nuclear program, reports BBC News.

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


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


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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