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Iran Says Europe Lacks Authority In Atomic Talks

Iranian President Ahmadinejad (file photo) (Fars) October 31, 2006 -- Iran's president, Mahmud Ahmadinejad, has reportedly told his Russian counterpart that talks on Iran's nuclear dispute are hindered by a lack of authority on the European side.

Iranian television today said that Ahmadinejad made the comments to Russian President Vladimir Putin in a telephone conversation.

Moscow has said that Putin told Ahmadinejad during the same conversation that Russia favors further negotiations on Tehran's nuclear program.

EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana held months of fruitless talks with Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani.

Ahmadinejad suggested to a crowd on October 30 that "efforts by the big powers" to punish Iran for its nuclear activities would "only incite anger and hatred."

"The Iranian nation will respond to restrictive activities with an appropriate and firm response," Ahmadinejad said.

IAEA Unsure

Also today, Muhammad el-Baradei, the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said his organization is still unable to confirm the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program.

Key members of the UN Security Council are currently debating a draft European resolution on sanctions to punish Iran for its failure to provide full disclosure of its nuclear program or halt uranium enrichment.

(compiled from agency reports)

Talking Technical

Talking Technical

A control panel at the Bushehr nuclear power plant (Fars)

CASCADES AND CENTRIFUGES: Experts and pundits alike continue to debate the goals and status of Iran's nuclear program. It remains unclear whether the program is, as Tehran insists, a purely peaceful enegy project or, as the United States claims, part of an effort to acquire nuclear weapons.
On June 7, 2006, RFE/RL correspondent Charles Recknagel spoke with nuclear expert Shannon Kile of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute in Sweden to help sort through some of the technical issues involved. "[Natanz] will be quite a large plant," Kile said. "There will be about 50,000 centrifuges and how much enriched uranium that can produce [is] hard to say because the efficiency of the centrifuges is not really known yet. But it would clearly be enough to be able to produce enough [highly-enriched uranium] for a nuclear weapon in fairly short order, if that's the route that they chose to go...." (more)


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Iran: The Worst-Case Scenarios

THE COMPLETE STORY: RFE/RL's complete coverage of controversy surrounding Iran's nuclear program.


An annotated timeline of Iran's nuclear program.