Posts tagged nuclear weapons
Posts tagged nuclear weapons
World powers including US and China present package to Iran and call for halt to uranium production at underground site
World powers presented Iran with a package of proposals at talks in Baghdad on Wednesday, aimed at defusing tensions over its nuclear programme and fending off the threat of a new Middle East war.
The package was presented by a six-nation group of negotiators, from the US, UK, France, Germany, Russia and China, and called on Iran to stop the production of 20%-enriched uranium and halt enrichment at an underground site at Fordow. In return, Iran would receive reactor fuel for making medical isotopes at a research reactor in Tehran, safety guidance and equipment for the Tehran reactor and a nuclear power station at Bushehr, and access to spare parts for its civil airliners, the safety of which has been put in jeopardy as a result of sanctions.
Iranian media reported that the chief Iranian negotiator, Saeed Jalili, had put forward a counter-proposal but gave no details. Sources at the talks said that Jalili had talked generally about Iran’s rights and responsibilities under the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), but did not go into specifics in an initial three-hour session of talks before a late lunch break. The discussions resumed on Wednesday evening, and Iranian media were predicting they would continue on Thursday, although there was no confirmation of that from western diplomats in Baghdad.
A western diplomat said: “We had a detailed exchange this morning. The E3+3 [a collective name used by the six-nation negotiating group] presented our package. The atmosphere was businesslike and meetings will continue this afternoon.”
The talks are taking place at Iraqi government offices in the highly fortified “green zone” in Baghdad, amid high security across the city. The aim of the six-nation group, chaired by the EU high representative for foreign policy, Catherine Ashton, is to begin detailed negotiations on Iran’s nuclear programme that will yield sufficient results to dissuade Israel from launching military strikes against Iranian nuclear sites.
Pictured: Representatives of the five permanent members of the security council (US, Russia, China, Britain, and France) plus Germany were in Baghdad seeking concessions from Iran over its disputed nuclear enrichment activities. Photograph: Iraqi government/handout/EPA
Sanctions have succeeded in bringing Tehran back to the negotiating table, but they are a tactic, not a strategy. Any long-term policy has to aim for a democratic Iran.
Officials: US could agree to limited Iranian uranium enrichment
WASHINGTON – In a major concession, Obama administration officials say they could support allowing Iran to continue a crucial element of its disputed nuclear program if the government in Tehran took other major steps to curb its ability to develop a nuclear bomb.
The officials told the Los Angeles Times they might agree to let Tehran continue enriching uranium up to concentrations of 5% if the Iranian government agreed to unrestricted inspections, and strict oversight and safeguards that the United Nations long has demanded.
Iran has begun enriching small amounts of uranium to 20% purity in February 2010 for what it contends are peaceful purposes, although most of its stockpile is purified at lower levels. Uranium can be used as bomb fuel at about 90% enrichment.
The question of whether to approve even low-level enrichment is highly controversial within the U.S. government and among its allies because of the risk that Iranian scientists still might be able to gain the knowledge and experience to someday build a bomb.
But a consensus has gradually emerged among U.S. and foreign officials that the Iranians are unlikely to accede to a complete halt to enrichment, and that pushing this demand could make it impossible to reach a negotiated deal to stop Iran’s program short of a military attack.
The United States and five other world powers began talks with Iran on April 14 in Istanbul to try to finally broker a deal, amid threats from Israel that it will bomb Iranian nuclear installations if the program isn’t dismantled soon. The talks are scheduled to resume in Baghdad on May 23.
Pictured: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, center, listens to a technician during his visit of the Natanz Uranium Enrichment Facility some 200 miles south of Tehran on April 8, 2008. Credit: Iranian’s President’s Office / Associated Press
Weapon is latest stage of military buildup to counter perceived threat from China
India is to test-launch a new nuclear-capable missile that for the first time would give it the capability of hitting the major Chinese cities of Beijing and Shanghai.
The Agni-V missile, with a range of 5,000km (3,100 miles), will thrust the emerging Asian power into an elite club of nations with intercontinental nuclear defence capabilities and challenge China’s regional dominance.
A launch had been scheduled for Wednesday night, but was deferred because of poor weather conditions.
Currently only the permanent members of the UN Security Council – China, France, Russia, the US and Britain – have such long-range weapons.
“It will be a quantum leap in India’s strategic capability,” said Ravi Gupta, spokesman for India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation, which built the missile.
The longest-range missile that India possesses at present, the Agni-III, has a range of only 3,500km and falls short of many major Chinese cities.
India and China fought a war in 1962 and continue to nurse a border dispute. India has also been suspicious of Beijing’s efforts to increase its influence in the Indian Ocean in recent years.
“While China doesn’t really consider India any kind of a threat or any kind of a rival, India definitely doesn’t think in the same way,” said Rahul Bedi, a defence analyst in New Delhi.
India already has the capability of hitting anywhere inside archrival Pakistan, but has engaged in a splurge of defence spending in recent years to counter the perceived Chinese threat.
Pictured:A schematic of India’s Agni V long-range missile. Photograph: Reuters
Obama and Hu to co-ordinate on North Korea rocket launch
China and the US have agreed to co-ordinate their response to any “potential provocation” if North Korea goes ahead with a planned rocket launch, the White House says.
North Korea says the long-range rocket will carry a satellite. The US says any launch would violate UN resolutions and be a missile test.
US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao met on the margins of a nuclear summit in South Korea.
The launch is scheduled for April.
Its timing - between 12 and 16 April - is intended to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of North Korea’s late Great Leader Kim Il-sung.
The White House said Mr Hu indicated to Mr Obama that he was taking the North Korean issue very seriously and was registering China’s concern with the government in Pyongyang.
“We both have an interest in making sure that international norms surrounding non-proliferation, preventing destabilising nuclear weapons, is very important,” Mr Obama said ahead of the meeting.
Barack Obama visits the demilitarised zone, a heavily fortified 2.5 mile-wide stretch of land that has separated North and South Korea since 1953. The US president was seen peering over the border through binoculars and his visit will be followed by an international summit to discuss ways to prevent nuclear terrorism amid ongoing concerns over nuclear activity in North Korea