Friday, 22 February 2013

Iran Live Coverage: The Latest Report on Tehran's Nuclear Programme

0620 GMT: Nuclear Watch A first glance at Iranian State media indicates that they are ignoring the IAEA report --- there is no reference to it either by State news agency IRNA or by Press TV.

Instead, both outlets feature a statement by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov that Moscow is "counting on some progress" in the talks between Iran and the 5+1 Powers (US, Britian, France, Germany, China, and Russia) next Tuesday in Kazakhstan.

0600 GMT: Nuclear Watch. Today's headlines in the "West" about Iran are likely to be summaries --- some sensational, some exaggerated --- about the latest report (see full text) on Tehran's nuclear programme.

The baseline of the International Atomic Energy Agency's quarterly findings is that the Islamic Republic is only a little closer to a militarised nuclear capability, even if it is pursuing one. The amount of 20% uranium is still far short of the potential of being enriched further, to above 90%, to make even one warhead, and almost half of the 20% stock has been converted to fuel plates, which only have civilian uses.

These basics will likely be ignored, or set far down, in articles which mis-represent Iran's new centrifuges as a vital contribution to an effort for the Bomb --- they are not --- and which talk about Israel's "red line" for a military attack on Tehran's programme.

The IAEA did not criticise Iran's introduction of the new centrifuges, supplanting 40-year-old equipment, and did not find any evidence of a military effort. However, the Agency continued to express its concern that it is not allowed to visit all Iranian facilities, and in particular, it criticised Tehran for not granting access to the Parchin military base, where US and European officials claim a high-explosives container can be used for testing of a militarised nuclear capability.

Beyond a dissection of the report and the summaries of it, there is the bigger question: how will the politics around the IAEA's findings affect next Tuesday's talks in Kazakhstan between Iran and the 5+1 Powers, the first high-level encounter in eight months?

from EA WorldView: EA Iran

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