- China City of America mulled for New York — with $65M tax dollars
- Yemen defense ministry rocked by suicide bomber, gunfire
- Hack attack: 2 million Facebook, Twitter passwords stolen
- Mystery deepens over radioactive cobalt-60 stolen in Mexico
- No mas: Principal bans Spanish language in intercom announcement
- Hacking software could put ‘zombie drone army’ in user’s hands
- Support for stricter gun laws drops: poll
- 10 whales dead, 41 others stranded in Everglades
- John Boehner faces bipartisan pressure to allow gay-rights vote
- Martin Bashir resigns from MSNBC over ‘ill-judged’ comments about Sarah Palin
International envoys tour key Iranian nuclear site
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Several international envoys — but crucially none from the world powers — got a look inside an Iranian nuclear site Saturday as part of a tour the Islamic Republic hopes will build support before a new round of talks on its disputed atomic activities.
Iran is trying to sell the tour as a gesture of transparency ahead of the Jan. 20-22 talks in Istanbul, Turkey. In a blow to the effort, however, major powers Russia, China and the European Union refused the Iranian invitation. The EU said it should be up to inspectors from the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency to verify whether Iran’s program is entirely peaceful.
Iran’s offer pointedly did not include the United States, one of its biggest critics internationally, nor three other Western nations that have been critical of the Iranian program — Britain, France and Germany — and many saw the tour as an attempt to divide the nations conducting the nuclear talks.
Ambassadors to the U.N. atomic energy agency from Egypt, Cuba, Syria, Algeria, Venezuela, Oman and the Arab League arrived in Tehran early Saturday and visited the unfinished heavy water reactor near Arak in central Iran, state TV reported.
The group is expected to tour Iran’s main uranium enrichment facility near Natanz on Sunday.
The U.S. and some of its allies accuse Iran of using its civil nuclear program as a cover to develop a nuclear weapons capability. Tehran denies the accusation, saying its nuclear work is merely geared towards producing nuclear energy and isotopes to treat medical patients.
To support that assertion, Iran on Saturday unveiled domestically-produced deuterated compounds, which state TV said can be used for medical research and making optic fiber.
With crucial talks between Iran and six world powers in Istanbul just days away, the timing of the nuclear tour and the choice of nations invited appeared to be an attempt to weaken unity among Iran’s interlocutors.
In particular, there have been differences among them on the issue of imposing economic and other penalties on Iran as a way to pressure it to make concessions.
Moscow and Beijing, for example, have generally opposed attempts by the other four — the United States, Britain, France and Germany — to sharpen U.N. sanctions on Iran over its refusal to stop activities that could be potentially used to make nuclear weapons.
Iran’s envoy to the Vienna-based U.N. agency, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, said on state TV that while Russia and China “welcomed warmly this positive initiative” the two nations could not attend because of time conflicts.
“This is the visit of IAEA ambassadors. It has nothing to do with IAEA inspections,” Soltanieh said.
Iran’s nuclear chief and acting foreign minister, Ali Akbar Salehi said the invitations were intended as a trust-building measure, contending that — outside of his nation — no other country has put its nuclear facilities on display for others.
- Inside China: Nuclear submarines capable of widespread attack on U.S.
- Apple wins facial recognition patent for iPhone 6
- 'Harry Potter' and 'Hunger Games' fans debate over political messages in films
- Democratic infighting erupts with squabble over entitlements
- Young and healthy millennials create risky imbalance by shunning Obamacare
- Obamas call to close Vatican embassy is 'slap in the face' to Roman Catholics
- Allen West warns Obamas backdoor gun control is moving forward
- Kill team: Obama war chiefs widen drone death zones
- Susan Rice slams Russia, China on human rights
- U.S. debt jumps a record $328 billion tops $17 trillion for first time
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
The Constitution: Every issue, every time. No exceptions, no excuses. And how to get from here to there.
A libertarian look at breaking news and political trends by author Tom Mullen.
A stat-head’s outlook, direct from his worn in couch cushion.
Playing Through covers the world of PGA golf, as well as tips your the average golfer to play better.