Reuters: Iran has started building a research reactor that could eventually produce enough plutonium for one bomb per year, ignoring calls to scrap the project, diplomats close to the United Nations said on Thursday.
AP: Fearing airstrikes, Iran is using reenforced materials and tunneling deep underground to store nuclear components - measures meant to make the facility resistant to "bunker busters" and other special weaponry, diplomats said Thursday. The diplomats spoke as a 35-nation meeting of the U.N. atomic watchdog agency ended more than three days of deliberations focusing on Iran and North Korea, which are both accused of seeking to develop nuclear weapons.
Reporters Without Borders: Reporters Without Borders condemned government hounding of the press after an independent journalist was given a six-month suspended sentence, a daily newspaper was suspended and nine journalists summoned. A high court in Tehran on 1st March upheld a suspended jail term imposed in March 2004 against Mohammad Hassan Alipour, editor of the daily Aban, along with a two-year ban from working.
AFP: Iran refuses to go beyond its treaty obligations to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to prove the peaceful aims of its nuclear energy programme, a senior official said Thursday. IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei "has no right to demand anything that goes beyond international rules", said Hossein Mussavian, spokesman for Iran's nuclear negotiating team.
AFP: Iran is pouring the concrete foundation for a heavy-water nuclear reactor which can make weapons-grade plutonium and which the UN atomic agency had asked it not to build, diplomats said Thursday. The work at a 40-megawatt reactor at Arak, southwest of Tehran, began in September, just after the UN atomic agency had asked Iran to refrain from building the reactor as a "confidence-building measure" that it does not ...
Reuters: The United States kept up the pressure on Iran and Syria on Wednesday as a senior White House security official urged the international community to demand that Tehran and Damascus stop supporting terrorism.
"State sponsors of terrorism such as Iran and Syria are with the terrorists and therefore against all of us," said Frances Townsend, homeland security adviser to President Bush.
Washington Times - Editorial: Director-General Mohammed ElBaradei and the International Atomic Energy Agency, under fire from Washington for failing to vigorously challenge Iran's nuclear-weapons program, are taking a tougher line toward Tehran. As President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice prepare to discuss joining the European Union's efforts to use some incentives to persuade Iran to change its behavior ...
Los Angeles Times: President Bush and his closest foreign policy advisers convene Thursday to grapple with an important shift in U.S. policy toward Iran: how best to support a European diplomatic initiative to prevent the Middle East nation from becoming a nuclear weapons state. The discussions follow a working lunch Wednesday at the White House that included Vice President Dick Cheney, national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, during which the Europeans' strategy to offer economic incentives was discussed, according to administration officials.
Iran Focus: Tehran, Mar. 02 At least 54 Iranian girls and young women, between the ages of 16 and 25, are sold on the streets of Karachi in Pakistan on a daily basis, according to report outlining the latest statistics. The report also revealed that there are at present at least 300,000 runaway girls in Iran, adding that the estimated number of women under the absolute poverty line was more than eight million.
AFP: There are "an alarming number of unresolved questions about Iran's nuclear program," which the United States claims hides atomic weapons development, US ambassador Jackie Sanders told the UN atomic agency Wednesday. Sanders said Iran had continued to deny UN inspectors "the transparency and cooperation they need to perform their duties" and that Tehran was "cynically" manipulating "the nuclear nonproliferation regime in the pursuit of nuclear weapons."
Bloomberg: The U.S criticized the United Nations nuclear watchdog today over its ability to assure the world that Iran is using atomic technology for peaceful means. "The IAEA is still not able to provide assurances that Iran is not pursuing clandestine activities at undeclared locations as it has been doing for years," U.S. Ambassador Jackie Sanders said today in a statement to the International Atomic Energy Agency's ...
AFP: The head of Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guards has warned that 190,000 US troops stationed close to the Islamic republic could be targetted if Iran were attacked, a report said Wednesday.
"More than 190,000 members of American forces are scattered in Afghanistan and Iraq. If the US carries out its threats against Iran, they nust know that all these forces will be within our reach," Yahya Rahim Safavi told the ultra-hardline Ya Lessarat newspaper.
AFP: Iran must come clean on nuclear questions, UN atomic agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei said Wednesday. ElBaradei, whose International Atomic Energy Agency is investigating Iran for possible nuclear weapons work, said Tehran must carry out "transparency" measures that allow widespread visits by IAEA inspectors beyond what is required under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Reuters: France, Britain and Germany, who are spearheading atomic talks with Iran, criticised Tehran on Wednesday for not keeping its pledge to suspend all sensitive parts of its nuclear programme that could be used in bomb-making. In a statement to the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) board of governors, the trio cited Iran's pledge to suspend activities linked to uranium enrichment, and said Tehran's recent cleaning and quality control work on nuclear equipment parts was "of serious concern".
New York Sun: Two leading Republican members of Congress are urging the White House to refrain from joining European negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program. In an interview yesterday with The New York Sun, Senator Santorum, a Republican of Pennsylvania who is his party's third-ranking senator, said he did not like the idea of the negotiations.
Reuters: The United States said on Wednesday the U.N. nuclear watchdog has a "statutory obligation" to refer Iranian breaches of its non-proliferation obligations to the U.N. Security Council for possible economic sanctions.
The Wall Street Journal: Iran won't allow United Nations inspectors to revisit a military base where U.S. officials suspect it might have tested high-explosive components for a nuclear weapon, opening a new source of tension between the Bush administration and Tehran over its possible nuclear ambitions.