Entries in Nuclear Weapons (100)


No Agreement Reached in Talks on Iran’s Nuclear Program

iStockphoto(ALMATY, Kazakhstan) -- Iran and the major powers have failed to reach an agreement after two days of talks on Iran's nuclear program taking place in Kazakhstan.

Iran had been negotiation with six world powers, the United States, Russia, China, the UK, France, and Germany, over Iran’s nuclear program. Iran denies that its intentions are anything but peaceful, but world powers are wary of covert nuclear weapons.

Iran was to stop working on its more sensitive nuclear activates, and in return some tough economic sanctions against the country would be eased, though no such deal was reached.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton admitted that they are not even close to an agreement.

"It became clear that the positions... remain far apart on the substance," Ashton said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


North Korea Threatens Nuclear Strike Against US

Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images(SEOUL, South Korea) -- Just hours before the United Nations votes on tougher sanctions against the country, North Korea has issued a new threat against the United States.

In a statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency on Thursday, North Korea's foreign ministry said, "Now that the U.S. is set to light a fuse for a nuclear war, the revolutionary armed forces of the DPRK will exercise the right to a preemptive nuclear attack to destroy the strongholds of the aggressors and to defend the supreme interests of the country," Bloomberg reports.

Such harsh rhetoric is regular practice when it comes to North Koreans, but it has been notably frequent in recent days.

On Thursday, U.N. diplomats are scheduled to vote on new sanctions against North Korea following its recent nuclear test.  The country is also angry over the U.S.-South Korean military drills taking place this month.

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Iran and Super Powers Agree to Keep Nuclear Talks Going

IIPA via Getty Images(ALMATY, Kazakhstan) -- Baby steps are about all the U.S. and five other super powers can expect as they continue to negotiate with Iran about freezing its rogue nuclear program.

During Wednesday's final day of talks in Almaty, Kazakhstan, the super powers received assurances from Tehran that there would be more discussions in the future.

To reach that point, the so-called P5+1 had to scale back some of their demands that included no longer asking for a permanent shutdown of Iran's key Fordo nuclear facility.  Meanwhile, the group would also allow Iran to keep small amounts of weapons grade uranium.

The other concession was anticipated: a small reduction in the sanctions that have nearly crippled Iran's economy.  The proposal would permit Tehran to use gold and various precious metals in its businesses dealing with other countries.

With all that seemingly in the bank, Iran said it would meet again next month in Istanbul with officials from the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany.

Naturally, there is skepticism about Iran's softening of its position, given that the Islamic Republican often seems on the verge of agreeing to compromise and then suddenly pulls back, refusing all attempts by the international community to get it to suspend uranium enrichment, a key step to developing nuclear weapons.

Israel is especially wary of Iran's posturing, arguing that sanctions should be toughened, not loosened, and threatening Tehran with military power if it ultimately rejects all diplomatic solutions.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Super Powers Make Their Offer to Iran

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ALMATY, Kazakhstan) -- Six super powers known as the P5+1 resumed talks on Tuesday with Iranian officials over Tehran's rogue nuclear program.  The discussions, the first since last June, are taking place in Almaty, Kazakhstan and resume on Wednesday.

The U.S., Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany have presented a proposal to Iran to scale back crippling sanctions if the Iranians stop enriching uranium to 20 percent, a key step in developing nuclear weapons although Tehran continues to assert its program is only for peaceful purposes.

If inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency can verify that Iran actually has no nuclear weapons and no secret enrichment sites, then the super powers would partially lift penalties that would help revive Iran's economy, which has been hard hit by an international oil embargo.

The P5+1 is under no illusion that Iran will readily accept any deal, given tough talk from its theocratic regime that undermines statements of possible compliance from government officials, including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Essentially, what the international community wants is assurances from Iran that it would be willing to hold further talks down the road even as Israel warns that Iran is coming very close to creating nuclear bombs that threaten its security.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Iran Might Catch a Break at Nuclear Program Talks

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ALMATY, Kazakhstan) -- World powers confronting Iran about its rogue nuclear ambitions on Tuesday are suggesting some easing of sanctions might be possible if Tehran demonstrates a good-faith effort to ease international concerns about its atomic program.

This is the first time the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany, otherwise known as the P5+1 group, have met with Iranian officials since talks fell apart in Moscow last June.

Since then, Iran has made progress in speeding up uranium enrichment, a key step to developing nuclear weapons, and Tehran now feels it has more leverage as it starts discussions with the P5+1 group in Kazakhstan.

Nonetheless, the series of tough sanctions enacted by the world community has devastated the Iranian economy and if it's true that the U.S. and it allies would consider scaling back the penalties, Tehran could be willing to compromise.

Secretary of State John Kerry, making the first international tour of his new job, said in London, "The window for a diplomatic solution simply cannot by definition remain open forever.  But it is open today.  It is open now.  There is still time but there is only time if Iran makes the decision to come to the table and negotiate in good faith."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Iran Seeks Upper Hand Before Talks with World Powers

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(TEHRAN, Iran) -- Iran issued a flurry of news over the weekend related to its nuclear program that international observers say was intended to put Tehran in a stronger bargaining position ahead of its meeting on Tuesday with the U.S. and other world powers.

Among other things, Iran announced it was designating 16 sites for nuclear power facilities.  That was on top of its claims of finding deposits of uranium, a key element in the development of atomic weapons although Iran says it intentions are peaceful.

Meanwhile, Tehran also acknowledged a report from last week that it had acquired advanced centrifuges to speed up uranium enrichment at its main plant in Natanz.

All this would certainly give Iran more leverage with the so-called P5+1 when officials meet in Kazakhstan.  Attempts at arriving on an agreement ended abruptly in Russia last June.

The U.S, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany appear willing to scale back tough sanctions that have devastated Iran's economy if the Islamic republic will reduce uranium enrichment.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


New Centrifuges Could Help Iran Speed Up Nuclear Fuel Production

IIPA via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Iran seems determined to hasten the process of producing nuclear fuel, according to United Nation inspectors.

The U.N.'s nuclear watchdog group, the International Atomic Energy Agency, says that Iran has installed a new generation of centrifuges at the Natanz nuclear enrichment center capable of enriching uranium at a much faster rate -- a key step in making atomic weapons.

This equipment is significantly more powerful than what Iranian scientists have used in the past, according to the IAEA inspectors.  They released their findings ahead of the next summit on nuclear talks taking place on Feb. 26 between the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany and Iran.

Interestingly, Iran hasn't been accruing too much medium-enriched uranium, the main ingredient of bomb fuel.

This may be an attempt by Tehran to defuse the threat by Israel to launch a preemptive strike targeting its nuclear facilities, particularly the Natanz plant.

However, Israel isn't buying it.  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office say the inspectors report on the centrifuges is what's most troublesome as Israel considers its options to keep Iran from obtaining nuclear bombs.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


International Powers and Iran to Resume Nuclear Talks Next Week

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Iran will be presented with a new offer from the international group known as the P5+1 in yet another effort to get Tehran to give up its rogue nuclear program.

A Western diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, told reporters in London that the proposal drawn up by the U.S., United Kingdom, France, Russia, China and Germany will contain elements not previously raised with Iran.

Talks are scheduled to happen next Tuesday in Kazakhstan, eight months after the last summit in Moscow failed to produce any results.

At the time, the P5+1, which is made up the five permanent U.N. Security Council members and Germany, proposed that Iran suspend production of 20 percent enrichment of uranium, a key step in developing nuclear weapons.

Iran, which claims its program is intended for peaceful purposes, turned down the request even as it suffers from crippling economic and political sanctions that have grown more severe since June 2012.

Tehran has indicated progress could be made if the P5+1 recognizes its right to operate a civilian nuclear program.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


UN Security Council Unanimously Condemns North Korean Nuclear Test

KIM JAE-HWAN/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- In a rare show of unanimity, the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday issued a strong statement against North Korea's detonation of an underground nuclear device, thus setting the stage for yet another round of sanctions against President Kim Jong-Un's government.

China, considered North Korea's most supportive ally, joined the 14 other members in stating that Pyongyang was in "grave violation" of three U.N. resolutions when it conducted the test earlier in the day.

By promising to take "significant action" to punish North Korea for what it says was a "a clear threat to international peace and security," the Security Council is on board with Washington, which previously denounced the "highly provocative" nuclear test that occurred two months after Pyongyang launched a long-range missile -- another violation of U.N. rules.

U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice will discuss how the Security Council can toughen and add on to existing sanctions that mainly target North Korea's already-dismal economy.

However, nothing so far has convinced Pyongyang and its relatively new leader Kim to put a freeze on their rogue nuclear activities.  Up to now, North Korea is the only nation this century to have conducted underground nuclear tests.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


North Korea Nuclear Test 'Highly Provocative,' Obama Says

KIM JAE-HWAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama called North Korea's latest nuclear test "a highly provocative act" that undermines regional stability and threatens international peace.

North Korea announced earlier on Tuesday that it successfully tested a miniaturized nuclear device underground, according to state media.

Official state media said the test was conducted in a safe manner and is aimed at coping with "outrageous" U.S. hostility that "violently" undermines the country's peaceful, sovereign rights to launch satellites.  Unlike previous tests, North Korea used a powerful explosive nuclear bomb that is smaller and lighter, state media reported.

"The danger posed by North Korea's threatening activities warrants further swift and credible action by the international community.  The United States will also continue to take steps necessary to defend ourselves and our allies," Obama said in a statement Tuesday morning.

"The United States remains vigilant in the face of North Korean provocations and steadfast in our defense commitments to allies in the region," he added.

The U.N. Security Council will hold an emergency meeting on North Korea's nuclear test later Tuesday morning.

China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement expressing "firm opposition" to the test.

"We strongly urge the DPRK (North Korea) to abide by its denuclearization commitments, and to refrain from further actions that could lead to a deterioration of the situation.  Safeguarding Korean Peninsula and East Asian peace and stability serves the shared interests of all parties," the statement read.

China, North Korea's main ally in the region, has warned North Korea it would cut back severely needed food assistance if it carried out a test.  Each year, China donates approximately half of the food North Korea lacks to feed its people and half of all the oil the country consumes.

Suspicions were aroused when the U.S. Geological Survey said it had detected a magnitude 4.9 earthquake Tuesday in North Korea.

The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization told ABC News, "We confirm that a suspicious seismic event has taken place in North Korea."

"The event shows clear explosion-like characteristics and its location is roughly congruent with the 2006 and 2009 DPRK nuclear tests," said Tibor Toth, executive secretary of the organization.

"If confirmed as a nuclear test, this act would constitute a clear threat to international peace and security, and challenges efforts made to strengthen global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation," Toth said in a statement on the organization's website.

North Korea threatened in January to carry out a "higher-level" test following the successful Dec. 12 launch of a long range rocket.  At the time, North Korea's leader Kim Jong-Un said his country's weapons tests were specifically targeting the United States.

The suspicious tremor comes just hours before President Obama is to give the State of the Union address, and it marks the first diplomatic test in the region for new Secretary of State John Kerry.

Also, South Korea's new president, Park Geun-hye, is scheduled to be sworn in on Feb. 25.  One of North Korea's biggest holidays, Kim Jong-Il's birthday, falls on Feb. 16.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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