Iran Sanctions Talks Stall As U.S., Russia Clash Over Belarus
Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin (file photo) (official site)
December 13, 2006 -- Talks on possible sanctions against Iran over its disputed nuclear program did not take place as planned on December 12 at the UN Security Council.
The closed-door session was postponed after Russia objected to a U.S. request to discuss the 54-day hunger strike of jailed former Belarusian opposition presidential candidate, Alyaksandr Kozulin.
Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin reportedly said the issue had nothing to do with the council's business.
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)