The Nuclear Price For Obama’s Pride (Ezekiel 17)

Obama’s Nuclear Legacy Leaves America and Allies Less Safe

In his Jan. 11 remarks on nuclear weapons policy, the outgoing Vice President Joe Biden praised former President Barack Obama’s nuclear weapons policy.
Take, for example, the Iran deal. Biden argued that the administration got the deal through a combination of international sanctions and hard-nosed diplomacy.
In reality, the deal was sold to the American public by concealing the full extent of concessions the administration had to make to get the Iranians to agree to it. The deal does not prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and in fact rewards years of Iranian noncompliance with its International Atomic Energy Agency obligations.
While the administration’s efforts to bring nuclear issues on the international agenda with nuclear security summits have been worthwhile, the administration has acted under a misguided impression that others will be motivated to follow U.S. leadership out of a sense of benevolence.
Biden argued that U.S. unilateral reductions make the United States safer. But there is no evidence for such optimism. In fact,
Biden downplayed the potential need for nuclear weapons, saying:
Given our non-nuclear capacities and the nature of today’s threats, it’s hard to envision a plausible scenario in which the first use of nuclear weapons by the United States would be necessary of make sense in the view of the president and me.
But just because he or Obama can’t imagine something does not mean it will never happen, or that the United States should not put serious thought to it. We have been surprised many times in the past.
Biden also argues that the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty “makes America safer.” It does not.
The treaty is disadvantageous to the United States. In fact, the United States is required to bear a large majority of nuclear weapons reductions under the treaty while allowing Russia to build up to the treaty levels.
To make matters worse, the administration’s complete inability to bring the Russians back to compliance with their arms control obligations under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty undermines the security of U.S. allies in Europe.
In the real world in which we live, the safest world is not the one without nuclear weapons. The safest world is the one where deterrence works. Obama’s nuclear weapons policies only made the country and our allies less safe.

Is Babylon the Great Ignorant Or Playing Politics?

Obama: Iran has not advanced nuclear ambitions since U.S. negotiations started

politifact-photos-2014-12-21_11_37_25-State_of_the_Union_-_CNN.com_Blogs
President Barack Obama on CNN’s “State of the Union” Dec. 21, 2014.
When you close out the year by ditching America’s 50-year isolation of Cuba, you can expect a few broader questions about your style on the international stage.

President Barack Obama said in a year-end interview with CNN’s Candy Crowley that he has been “consistent in saying that where we can solve problems diplomatically, we should do so.”

Crowley pressed Obama to respond to the charge that he is too willing to cut deals that produce little in return for the United States.

“The gist of it is that you’re naive and they’re rolling you,” Crowley said, speaking of other world leaders.

Obama shot back that on a couple of major fronts, his track record is looking pretty good. Russia now has a crisis on its hands as its economy stalls and the value of the ruble tumbles. On Iran, the president said there have been real gains.

“Over the last year and a half, since we began negotiations with them, that’s probably the first year and a half in which Iran has not advanced its nuclear program in the last decade,” Obama said.
The fear that Iran is developing nuclear weapons, a charge that Iran denies, has bedeviled the international community for over 15 years. We decided to take a closer look at whether Iran’s program has advanced or not.

We found general agreement that in terms of curtailing the means to produce enriched uranium and plutonium, the essential fuels needed for an atomic bomb, negotiations between the United States, Iran and other United Nations countries contributed to real progress. However, some analysts define Iran’s nuclear program more broadly to include suspected efforts to design nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. The negotiations don’t address those elements, however, and what Iran is doing or has done in that area is subject to much debate.

By way of refresher, in November 2013, the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, plus Germany, and Iran signed an agreement that temporarily stopped or rolled back Iran’s production of potentially weapons grade nuclear material. In November 2014, that agreement was extended by four months, with some additional restrictions on Iran. In exchange, Iran has been able to sell more of its oil and gain access to millions of dollars that had been frozen in overseas bank accounts.

The key elements in the agreements

Negotiators focused on nuclear fuel. This had three main aspects.

  • Stopping the production and accumulation of uranium enriched to the 20 percent level of the isotope U-235 and converting a large fraction of what it had to a form harder to use in a weapon.
  • Stop the installation of additional centrifuge machines at Iran’s two enrichment facilities. Centrifuges are essential to the enrichment process.
  • Put the brakes on construction of Iran’s heavy water reactor in Arak. If it were operational, this reactor could produce enough plutonium in its spent fuel for one to two nuclear warheads.

Importantly, Iran agreed to inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency. That agency has found that Iran complied with the terms of the original November 2013 agreement. In its November 2014 report, the agency said, “All of the enrichment related activities at Iran’s declared facilities are under Agency safeguards, and all of the nuclear material, installed cascades, and feed and withdrawal stations at those facilities are subject to Agency containment and surveillance.”

To be clear, Iran continues to enrich uranium, but only to the level of 5 percent of U-235, a form that falls well short of the needs of weapon makers.

Regarding heavy water facilities, the IAEA said that Iran had not stopped all work across all of its heavy water projects, but it had not installed any major components.

What the experts say

As far as nuclear material is concerned, the experts we reached said the agreements successfully, though perhaps only temporarily, curtailed production.

“When President Obama says that for the first time in the past decade Iran has not advanced its nuclear program he is correct,” said Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, a research group that advocates for arms control policies. “Leading up to the interim deal, Iran had nearly amassed enough 20 percent enriched uranium gas, which when further enriched to weapons grade is enough for one bomb.”

That material is no longer available, Kimball said.

Matthew Bunn, a principal investigator with the Project on Managing the Atom at Harvard University’s Kennedy School, also said Obama basically has it right on Iran. “They don’t have any more equipment in place for producing bomb material than they had a year and a half ago,” Bunn said.

David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, a Washington-based group that aims to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, offered a more qualified view. Albright called progress on enrichment, centrifuges and the heavy water facilities in Arak, a “great accomplishment.”

But Albright noted that, “Iran continues to run almost 10,000 centrifuges, enriching and stockpiling 3.5 percent low enriched uranium.” And Iran’s research on advanced centrifuges, with limits, is ongoing.

Albright is also concerned that Iran has so far not allowed the international inspectors the access they need to learn more about any nuclear weapons research Iran had in the past.

Matthew Kroenig, a professor of international relations at Georgetown University, also focused on the weapons side of the equation. Kroenig noted that the agreements that limited and rolled back the production of nuclear-grade material were silent on this front.

“Iran’s missile production continues, and we are uncertain about the nuclear weapons design work, although many experts believe that continues as well,” Kroenig said.

But Kroenig also described curtailing the production of nuclear fuel as the “most important” piece of the nonproliferation effort with Iran.

Two notes on the time elements mentioned in Obama’s comments.

He said this is the first time in a decade that Iran’s nuclear program did not advance. Iran restarted its uranium enrichment program in 2005. That would mean it has been a bit over nine years.

Also, the president’s year and a half is a bit of a stretch. The first agreement with Iran was signed barely over a year ago, although the terms were announced earlier.

Our ruling

Obama said that we have seen “probably the first year and a half in which Iran has not advanced its nuclear program in the last decade.” The agreement signed in November 2013 has made it harder for Iran to produce weapons-grade nuclear material. International observers report that Iran complied with the terms of the temporary agreement. The amount of enriched uranium is less, and the country’s facilities to produce weapons-grade material has been curtailed.

But that does not mean the country has completely stopped all activities that could produce nuclear weapons material in the future. There is also concern about broader aspects of a nuclear weapons program, such as weapons design and missile development.

We rate Obama’s claim Mostly True.

Everybody Except His Mother Knows This

Senior cleric: Iran has knowledge to build a nuclear bomb

Ayatollah Sayyid Ahmad Khatami

Ayatollah Sayyid Ahmad Khatami

The Guardian

The Islamic republic has reached the expertise to enrich uranium not just to the 5% and 20% levels required for civilian uses but to higher levels required for a bomb, says Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami
An official site belonging to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has quoted a senior conservative cleric as saying that Iran has attained the knowledge to build a nuclear bomb but doesn’t want to use it.

The IRGC site of Kurdistan province today quoted Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, a leading cleric who often leads Friday prayers in Tehran, as telling a group of IRGC commanders in Iran’s Kurdistan province that Iran had the expertise to enrich uranium not just to the 5% and 20% levels required for civilian uses but to higher levels required for a bomb. “[We] can enrich uranium at 5% or 20%, as well as 40% to 50%, and even 90%,” he was quoted as saying. But he said the Islamic republic believed that the building of a bomb is religiously forbidden.

Turning to nuclear talks with world powers, Khatami said Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, had blocked any discussion of Iran’s missile programme because the United States did not follow principles. Khatami attacked the government of president Hassan Rouhani for trying to establish formal diplomatic relations with the US and for trying to eliminate the slogan of “Death to America” from use at official rallies.

Khamenei made a religious ruling in 2005 against the manufacture or use of nuclear weapons, although the fatwa’s validity and scope have been questioned by critics of Iran internationally.
Khatami’s speech was widely covered by the Iranian press, but the remarks about Iran’s nuclear bomb-making capabilities were not reported.

Don’t Believe The White House Reports On Iranian Concessions

Iran rejects US claims it made concessions for talks extension

Bushehr
Nuclear spokesman says there are no new conditions, despite AP report; source says no freeze on centrifuge machine tests

December 7, 2014, 6:00 am
 

An Iranian official denied reports that Tehran had made significant concessions in exchange for extending talks on its nuclear program.

“The conditions for extending the nuclear negotiations to July 1, 2015 were like the conditions reining the extension of the previous deadlines and no new undertaking has been added to it,” said Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, according to the semi-official Fars news agency.

Kamalvandi was responding to an AP report that Iran promised to allow snap inspections of its facilities and to neutralize much of its remaining uranium stockpile.

Those terms are included in a document that US officials say represents the terms for a seven-month extension in nuclear negotiations between world powers and Iran, agreed to when the last deadline of November 24 passed without an accord. A copy was obtained by The Associated Press.

Fars also reported than a source close to Iran’s nuclear negotiating team rejected claims that Iran had put a freeze on testing new centrifuges.

“This is not true at all and the trend of R&D on enrichment is moving along its natural track at the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran,” said the source.

The authenticity of the document outlining the agreement was confirmed by three US officials and congressional aides familiar with closed-doors discussions in recent days that have included top US nuclear negotiator Wendy Sherman and Jake Sullivan, formerly Vice President Joe Biden’s national security adviser. The officials have been presenting the Iranian concessions to lawmakers in the hopes of convincing them to support the extension and hold off on new economic sanctions that could derail the diplomatic effort.

There is no proof Tehran has agreed to or will follow through on the steps outlined, and negotiators representing world powers and Iran offered few specifics on their progress when they agreed to extend negotiations until July. No signed agreement emerged from that understanding, but administration officials say Iran accepted important limits on its nuclear program in the discussions last month. The officials weren’t authorized to speak publicly on the sensitive negotiations and insisted on anonymity.

The US says Iran will further limit its development of new technology for enriching uranium that could be used for energy generation, as Tehran says is its objective, or for use in a nuclear warhead, which Washington and its international partners fear may be Iran’s ultimate intent. It also seems to patch up what critics of last year’s interim nuclear agreement described as loopholes on Iran’s research and development of advanced centrifuges.

For one centrifuge model Iran has been working on, the US says Tehran won’t be able to pursue the industrial-scale operation needed for any “breakout” effort toward producing enough material for a nuclear weapon. For other models in the pipeline, Iran won’t be permitted to feed the centrifuges with uranium gas or begin testing on a cascade level, which are needed steps in their development.

Iran also has reportedly agreed to turn 35 kilograms of higher-enriched uranium oxide stocks into fuel, making it unusable in the event Iran tries to secretly reach nuclear weapons capacity. That amounts for almost half of Iran’s remaining stockpile of material that could in theory be converted into a form that is close to weapons-grade uranium.

In addition, the administration says Iran will grant international inspectors expanded access to its centrifuge production facilities, allowing the UN nuclear agency to double the amount of visits it makes to sites and to undertake unannounced or “snap” inspections. The monitoring aims to deter Iran from producing centrifuges for any covert facility.

Lastly, Iran will refrain from any other forms of enrichment, including through the use of laser technology. Last year’s agreement halted Iran’s progress on its gas centrifuge program, but US officials feared the Iranians could experiment with other technology designed to do the same thing. Iran has attempted laser enrichment in the past, the US believes, but now has committed to refrain from exploring it any further.

It’s unclear how Congress is receiving the message.

Many lawmakers are decrying the stalemate in negotiations and what they perceive as wide concessions by the US and its partners for few steps by Iran to dismantle its nuclear program. Several Democrats and Republicans in the Senate are threatening new sanctions designed to pressure Iran into caving in the nuclear talks. The House voted overwhelmingly for new sanctions 17 months ago.

However, President Barack Obama has threatened to veto any new sanctions legislation while American diplomats continue their push for an accord that would set multi-year limits on Iran’s nuclear progress in exchange for an easing of the international sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy. Senate hawks are still trying to build a veto-proof majority of 67 votes with Republicans set to assume the majority next month.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Iran Enriches More Uranium

Editorial: Iran buys itself time

Iran continues to purify uranium.

Iran continues to purify uranium.
Sunday, November 30, 2014

By: Herald Staff | Boston Herald

A deal on how to restrict Iran’s nuclear activities, for which negotiations have been extended to June 30, will mean nothing unless Iran’s cheating is dealt with.

The International Atomic Energy Agency says its inspectors are still barred from some of Iran’s military sites. Previously the agency has documented Iran’s work on projects such as fitting warheads to missiles.

Arms are not on the agenda, nor is Iran’s support for the government of Syria and terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah. Talks have mostly dealt with Iran’s ability to enrich the nuclear fuel uranium to a point where it could be made into a bomb.

In reports about the talks, we have seen almost nothing about an unusual reactor at Arak (supposedly in a state of suspended animation) capable of efficiently producing plutonium. That can be used in bomb making too.

The sticking points are how much enriched uranium Iran could make and how fast, and how fast the remaining economic sanctions would be lifted. Iran has 19,000 centrifuges to enrich uranium, about half of them active. The Western negotiating countries have boosted their proposed allowance and at last report were offering about 4,500.

It’s hard to imagine talks failing over a centrifuge quota. But after seeing President Obama abandon almost every goal (including an end to enrichment as demanded by the United Nations) except the ability to make any development of a bomb take at least a year — a weak goal indeed — Iran’s real decision-maker, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, may think he can get more.

Last week he posted a message on his website saying, “In the nuclear issue, America and colonial European countries got together and did their best to bring the Islamic Republic to its knees, but they could not do so — and they will not be able to do so.”

The best course for the U.S. is a strengthening of sanctions in advance to take effect if the talks fail, and to turn attention to Iran’s other capabilities. Obama will threaten a veto, but an increasingly exasperated Congress might be able to override it.

The Obama Nuclear Debacle: Iran Allowed To Enrich More Uranium

Extension of Iran Nuclear Talks Prolongs Obama’s Enrichment Debacle

Obama-Iran
Fred Fleitz

Center for Security Policy
Articles | November 24, 2014 | Middle East, Nuclear Deterrence

According to press reports, the multilateral nuclear talks with Iran failed to reach a final agreement by a November 24 deadline and will be extended to next year. A new deadline for a “political framework” has been set for March 1, 2015; a final agreement is to be reached by July 1st.

This outcome is only marginally better than a bad deal since it will extend a terrible interim agreement struck with Iran last November that set the stage for this year’s negotiations. The interim agreement has many serious flaws, the most serious of which was conceding to Iran the right to enrich uranium by allowing it to continue to enrich.

While media outlets are emphasizing other disagreements that caused the nuclear talks to miss today’s deadline, especially Iran’s demand for immediate and complete sanctions relief, the Obama administration’s reckless concession on uranium enrichment is at the heart of the impasse in the negotiations.

Uranium enrichment is the process of concentrating the rare fissile isotope uranium-235 (U-235), which composes only 0.71% of natural uranium, to make nuclear fuel. Light-water nuclear reactors like Iran’s Bushehr reactor need uranium fuel enriched to 3.5-5% U-235. Weapons-grade fuel is enriched to about 90% U-235.

The U.S. uranium enrichment concession reversed years of Western policy and UN Security Council resolutions demanding that Iran halt enrichment and stop building enrichment centrifuges. When the U.S. first made the startling proposal in May 2012 to allow Iran to enrich uranium to reactor-grade, it radically transformed the debate over the Iranian nuclear program in Tehran’s favor.

Until May 2012, the United States and its European allies had pressed Iran to halt uranium enrichment and remove its enriched uranium stockpile from the country. The May 2012 proposal, which was affirmed in last November’s interim agreement, shifted the debate to how much enrichment Iran would be allowed to conduct. Iranians officials, who contend they need to conduct uranium enrichment for their supposedly peaceful nuclear program, seized on the U.S. concession to press for larger numbers of uranium centrifuges and to build advanced, far more efficient models.

Some data on Iran’s uranium centrifuges and enriched uranium stockpile:

Iran currently is operating 9,156 of its 19,000 centrifuges to produce about two nuclear weapons-worth of reactor-grade uranium per year. This reactor-grade uranium can be further enriched to weapons-grade in 2.2 to 3.5 months. (This timeline would be significantly shorter if other estimates of Iranian centrifuge output are used and if Iran has undeclared, covert centrifuge facilities.)

According to a November 7, 2014 IAEA report, Iran currently has 8,390 kg of reactor-grade uranium “remaining” in the form of uranium hexafluoride (UF6), the feed material for centrifuge enrichment. This is enough to make eight nuclear weapons if further enriched and probably more if enriched uranium in other forms is re-converted into UF6. (Click HERE to view a Center for Security Policy slideshow with more details on Iran’s nuclear program.)

To seal a final nuclear deal, the United States over the last few months proposed allowing Iran to operate 1,500, 4,500, 6,000 and 8,000 centrifuges. Iranian officials reportedly rejected all of these offers. Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said in July that Iran needs the equivalent of 200,000 centrifuges.

The Obama administration is now telling reporters that although Iran constructed large numbers of centrifuges over the last six years in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions, it was forced to give up the U.S. demand that Iran freeze or terminate its centrifuge program because Iranian officials refuse to comply. The head of a leading arms control group made this same argument to me last week, saying that although he wishes the U.S. could get the “no enrichment” deal with Iran that most members of Congress are demanding, he believes we need to “live in the real world” and get a deal that is possible.

The U.S. uranium enrichment concession was a dangerous blunder by the Obama administration that will have far reaching consequences.

The immediate effect has been to put the United States in a bidding war with Iran over numbers of operating centrifuges that our diplomats have been unable to win. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani bragged about this in an October 21 interview with Iranian television when he described Western negotiating positions in the nuclear talks as “a victory for the Iranian people” and said “there is no doubt in Iran’s right to enrich uranium. The whole world has accepted the fact. But we just have disagreements on details.”

The enrichment concession may have done far more damage to U.S. nuclear nonproliferation policy worldwide by conceding a dual-use nuclear technology to Iran that we would not agree to in nuclear cooperation agreements with friendly states. By doing so, Washington implicitly agreed that Iran’s nuclear program is intended for peaceful purposes and alienated states with truly peaceful programs.

One these states is the United Arab Emirates which signed a nuclear cooperation agreement (known as a 123 agreement) with the U.S. in 2009 that bars it from uranium enrichment. Because of the Obama administration’s uranium enrichment concession to Iran, it will be far more difficult to convince other friendly states to agree to forgo this technology in future 123 agreements. (In a related development, it is worth noting that the Obama administration has been criticized for weakening the U.S. “no enrichment” requirement in other 123 agreements starting with one signed with Vietnam in 2012. Click HERE for details.)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said when he was in the United States in September that the only reason Iran needs uranium enrichment is to make bombs. The Israeli leader was right. Developing an indigenous uranium enrichment capability does not make economic sense for Iran when it can buy uranium fuel rods much more cheaply from other countries. Iran also lacks the capability to construct fuel rods for its Bushehr nuclear reactor. A decision by Iranian leaders to fuel this reactor with rods made domestically would void Russian warranties on the reactor and might cause dangerous malfunctions. Moscow has agreed to fuel the Bushehr reactor and take its spent fuel back to Russia for disposal until 2021.

I wrote in a National Review Online article last week that I believe the Obama administration’s strategy in the nuclear talks with Iran is based on the wrong-headed belief by liberal foreign policy experts that since an Iranian nuclear bomb cannot be stopped, the only alternative is to contain an Iranian nuclear weapons program. As misguided as I believe this approach is, the uranium enrichment concession has made it much worse since we will be giving the green light to Western firms to sell enrichment and other nuclear technology to Iran in the future. For this reason, I believe President Obama is not just conceding the bomb to Iran, his enrichment concession has conceded an expanding Iranian capacity to construct multiple nuclear bombs.

There are a growing number of members of Congress who reject the U.S. approach on uranium enrichment and are demanding that “no enrichment” must be part of any final nuclear agreement with Iran. This includes 43 Republican senators who sent a toughly-worded letter to President Obama last week that criticized his administration for ignoring clear expressions from the Senate emphasizing the need for Iran to fully suspend its uranium enrichment program and dismantle its nuclear infrastructure. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) indicated last week that he holds a similar view and would join those demanding an agreement that achieves “the dismantling—not freezing—of Iran’s illegal nuclear weapons program.”

Many members of the House also strongly oppose the Obama administration’s uranium enrichment concession, including Representatives Ed Royce (R-CA), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Trent Franks (R-AZ), Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Eliot Engel (D-NY) and many others.

The Obama administration’s concession of uranium enrichment to Iran is the main reason why the current nuclear talks with Iran are hopeless. This is why the Center for Security Policy recently sent a letter signed by 17 prominent security policy practitioners and other national leaders to House and Senate leaders calling on Congress to repudiate the talks and demand that the Obama administration terminate them and work with our European allies to forge a coherent, realistic and firm U.S. policy aimed at actually preventing the Iranian regime from realizing its nuclear weapons ambitions. This should require, at a minimum, that there be no further easing of sanctions or further talks with Iran until Tehran complies with all UN Security Council resolutions related to its nuclear program, fully cooperates with the IAEA, and provides truthful answers to all outstanding questions about its nuclear program.

Today’s extension of the nuclear talks with Iran will extend last November’s deeply-flawed interim deal and a diplomatic process based on the dangerous Obama concession on uranium enrichment. It therefore is crucial that Congress ignore pressure by the administration to again delay legislative action and move as soon as possible to signal to the American people and the world that the U.S. Congress believes the current nuclear negotiations with Iran are a travesty that are certain to produce an agreement that will seriously endanger American and international security.

Iran Wants 20 Times Their Present Uranium Enrichment Capacity

Iran’s Supreme Leader issues red lines ahead of key nuclear talks

IAEA Inspection Sites

IAEA Inspection Sites

Your Middle East

 
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reiterated on Wednesday his country’s “red lines” in negotiations with world powers over its controversial nuclear programme due to resume next week in Vienna.

Khamenei’s intervention came as both the United States and EU confirmed that US Secretary of State John Kerry and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton would meet in the Austrian capital with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Ashton will first hold bilateral talks next Tuesday with Zarif, as is customary ahead of each round of nuclear negotiations, and a three-way meeting is to be held the next day on October 15, her spokesman Michael Mann said.

Top-level US diplomats would also meet with their Iranian and EU counterparts on October 14 ahead of the trilateral ministerial talks, a US official said, also confirming the trilateral talks.

“Our focus… is determining whether it’s possible to reach an agreement by November 24 that effectively closes down Iran’s pathways to nuclear materials for a nuclear weapon,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters.

US officials “continue to believe that there is still adequate time to work through these issues and arrive at a comprehensive agreement that will give the international community assurances that Iran will not acquire a nuclear weapon,” she added.

After failing to reach an initial July deadline, Iran and the P5+1 group of nations — China, the United States, France, Britain, Russia and Germany — have set November 24 as the date to strike a deal guaranteeing that Tehran’s nuclear programme is used for exclusively peaceful means.

But talks have stalled over the issue of Iran’s future capacity for uranium enrichment and the timetable for the lifting of international sanctions against Tehran.

“We still don’t have an understanding of the major issues, so that’s what the purpose of the discussion is,” Psaki said, adding there would be “many more meetings” including at expert level as they seek to hammer out a deal.

An infographic published on Khamenei’s official website outlined 11 points to be observed by negotiators before Iran will sign an accord.

One of the stipulations includes “the absolute need for Iran’s uranium enrichment capacity to be 190,000 SWU (Separate Work Units)” — close to 20 times its current processing ability.

Iranian officials say this is needed to produce fuel for its Bushehr reactor, which is being provided by Russia until 2021.

The US and other Western states, however, want Iran to decrease its enrichment capability.

“Fordo, which cannot be destroyed by the enemy, must be preserved,” the text on Khamenei’s website said, referring to the uranium enrichment site built under a mountain 100 kilometres (60 miles) south of Tehran.

“The work of nuclear scientists should in no way be stopped or slowed,” the text said, adding Iran had the right to pursue nuclear “research and development”.

Iran and the so-called P5+1 group signed a preliminary accord in November 2013 that froze some Iranian nuclear activities in exchange for a partial lifting of international sanctions.

Eight days of intensive talks at the end of September between Iran and the P5+1 group on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York also fell short of any final agreement, with the United States saying there were still serious gaps between the sides.

Iranian Horn Refuses to Stop Uranium Enrichment

Iran will not stop uranium enrichment, Hassan Rouhani says in New York

Washington Post

Iranian Centrifuges

Iranian Centrifuges

By Anne Gearan September 26 at 7:55 PM

NEW YORK — Negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program are moving much too slowly, but the country will not “surrender” on the key sticking point of uranium enrichment, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Friday.

Talks between Iran and world powers are stalled over the question of what limitations Iran will accept on its uranium-enrichment program in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions. Negotiators met nearly daily over the past two weeks but apparently made no headway. A July deadline for a deal was extended to Nov. 24.

“The remaining time for reaching an agreement is extremely short,” Rouhani said at a news conference. “The progress that has been witnessed in the last two days has been extremely slow. We must have a more-fast pace to move forward.”

Expectations had been high that foreign ministers of the six powers negotiating with Iran would join the talks on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. But French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told reporters Friday that he and his counterparts would not do so because “there are no significant advances at the moment.”

Rouhani acknowledged division at the talks, saying that “not all our opinions match,” and some political hard-liners in Iran are opposed to his efforts to pursue a deal. But Rouhani said there is solid popular and high-level political support in Iran for the talks after more than a decade of impasse.

The Iranian leader said there is no plan for him to talk to President Obama, as he did by telephone during last year’s U.N. gathering, or for the two presidents to meet. Obama has said he would be open to such a meeting under the right circumstances. The two nations have been estranged for 35 years.

Rouhani said a nuclear deal can be “a solid foundation for mutual trust-building” and improved relations.

“We must bring more effort to bear,” Rouhani said of the talks, speaking through an interpreter. He would not give details of the chief sticking point, which is the scope of the uranium-enrichment program that Iran would retain.

The United States and its partners want deep cuts to Iran’s estimated 10,000 centrifuges, the machines used to make nuclear fuel, leaving Iran with a small, face-saving program that could not be quickly redirected toward building a nuclear bomb. Iran insists that its nuclear program is entirely peaceful and aimed at energy production.

“Iran will never surrender its legal right to peaceful nuclear activities,” Rouhani said. “Uranium enrichment will continue in Iran.”

The Large Horn of Iran Noncompliant With Nuclear Negotiations

Iran’s current uranium enrichment not acceptable: US

 

iran_enriched_uranium_stockpile

WASHINGTON: Iran cannot convince the world that its current ability to enrich uranium is acceptable, the top US negotiator has said ahead of new nuclear talks with global powers.After months of intense negotiations the two sides have “identified potential answers to some key questions,” under secretary of state Wendy Sherman said in a speech at an award-giving ceremony at Georgetown University yesterday.But she warned “we remain far apart on other core issues, including the size and scope of Iran’s uranium enrichment capacity.”

As Iran and world powers prepare for new talks starting on tomorrow in New York, Sherman said she expected the Islamic Republic “will try to convince the world that on this pivotal matter, the status quo … should be acceptable.”

“It is not,” Sherman stressed, as she was given a top award for distinction in the conduct of diplomacy.

“If it were, we wouldn’t be involved in this difficult and very painstaking negotiation.”

The five permanent members of the UN security council plus Germany (the P5+1) want Iran to scale down its nuclear activities to make any breakout move to manufacture a bomb extremely difficult.

In return Tehran, which denies wanting nuclear weapons and says a peaceful atomic program is its right, wants the lifting of tough UN and Western sanctions.

But Sherman stressed: “The world will agree to suspend and lift sanctions only if Iran takes convincing and verifiable steps to show that its nuclear program is and will remain entirely peaceful.

“We must be confident that any effort by Tehran to break out of its obligations will be so visible and time-consuming that the attempt would have no chance of success.”

Sherman insisted the ideas that the US and its allies have put forward in the hopes of reaching a deal by a November 24 deadline were “fair, flexible and consistent with Iran’s civilian nuclear needs and scientific knowhow.”

The talks in New York will be at the level of political directors. But foreign ministers from Iran and the six powers — present in New York for the UN General Assembly — will likely also meet some time next week.

The Great Babylon Enriched Uranium, Why Not Iran?

Tehran's Nuclear Program

Tehran’s Nuclear Program

TEHRAN – A top Iranian nuclear negotiator has said that the uranium enrichment program by Iran is one of the most difficult parts of the talks with major powers and given the sensitivity and the capacity of the issue, no agreement has been achieved yet.

 
Abbas Araqchi made the remarks in a televised interview aired on Sunday.
 
“But we will continue making efforts; we are not disappointed and not too much optimistic either,” Araqchi stated.
 
Iran and the 5+1 group (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) started a new round of talks in Vienna on July 2 in pursuit of a comprehensive deal to resolve the dispute over Tehran’s nuclear program, which has dragged on for over a decade.
 
He said that there are differences over almost all the important issues, adding that differences over some issues have been reduced and solutions have been presented for some others.
 
He went on to say that the proposals made by the sides have not been accepted yet.
 
Araqchi stated that Iran’s position in regard to uranium enrichment is “reasonable” and “transparent”.
 
Uranium enrichment program has been designed based on the real needs of the country which is producing fuel to operate nuclear power plants, he noted.
 
The deputy foreign minister expressed hope that the trip of the foreign ministers of the U.S., UK, Russia, China, France and Germany to Vienna would help resolve the core issues.
 
Kerry and his counterparts from Russia, China, France, Germany and the UK have been invited to attend the negotiations.
 
Araqchi said the situation becomes more complicated, if the foreign ministers’ presence will not help reach a final deal.
 
Iran and the major powers have set a July 20 deadline to clinch a long-term comprehensive nuclear deal. The deadline can be extended by another half year if both sides agree.
 
Araqchi said it is possible that no result would be achieved on July 20 deadline.
 
NA/PA