U.N.-lead nuclear negotiations in Iran fail, again - Macleans.ca

U.N.-lead nuclear negotiations in Iran fail, again


A delegation led by the United Nations nuclear supervisory body has hit a stalemate after attempts to search potential nuclear-weapons testing facilities during a trip to Iran were not allowed.

Herman Nackaerts, deputy director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told reporters in Vienna that delegates were hoping to gain access to Parchin, a potential nuclear testing site south of Tehran, but this did not happen. There is no schedule for future talks with Iran, reports The New York Times.

The move comes amid signs that the country may be stockpiling more uranium and it also may be getting closer to enriching uranium to the level needed in nuclear weapons. A report in the The Washington Post says that, in the last year, Iran attempted to acquire “thousands of highly specialized magnets used in centrifuge machines,” items which the U.N. has banned Iran from purchasing.

It is unclear whether Iran was actually able to purchase the magnets, but doing so would have allowed the country to outfit five times the number of centrifuges than it currently operates, says the report.

Fereydoon Abbasi, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Agency, was quoted on Wednesday as saying that the country had succeeded in installing more modern nuclear enrichment devices at Natanz, a second nuclear site in the country.

He said that the new centrifuges would be used to enrich uranium to less than five per cent, not to the 20-percent level that raises concerns about nuclear weapons.