News Briefs

October 16, 2013
Nuclear negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran ended with the parties announcing another meeting on November 7 and 8 in Geneva. No details about the discussion, or any Iranian concessions, were released, but official reactions were generally positive.  EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton called the talks "substantive and forward looking."  A Russian foreign ministry official said the talks were "better than many people thought, but worse than what we hoped for," and a senior U.S. official said that the P5+1 "got more today than we've ever gotten, but there's a whole lot more we need to get."
-- Associated Press
October 10, 2013
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), an exiled Iranian opposition group, stated that Iran is moving a nuclear weaponization research center called "SPND" to a defense ministry complex about 1 mile away from its current location. The NCRI claims that about 100 researchers and engineers work at the center, which allegedly conducts small-scale experiments with radioactive materials. According to the NCRI, Iran is moving the center in order to avoid a visit by U.N. inspectors.
-- Reuters
October 6, 2013
President Barack Obama said that Iran is still "a year or more" away from having the capacity and knowledge to build a nuclear weapon, according to U.S. intelligence. Obama noted that the U.S. judgment differs from the Israelis', who believe Tehran is only months away from reaching nuclear weapons capability.
-- Associated Press
October 1, 2013
Iran's foreign exchange reserves have fallen from $90 billion to no more than $70 billion in the last nine months and only $15 billion may be immediately accessible, according to experts.  Research by Roubini Global Economics and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies shows that much of Iran's reserves are deposited in overseas accounts and can only be used to purchase products in in these countries.
-- YNet News
September 23, 2013
Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran's atomic energy organization, announced that Russia would hand over control of the 1,000-megawatt Bushehr nuclear reactor to Iran on September 23. Russian experts will remain at the plant for an additional two years to provide technical assistance. Moscow is also providing the plant with nuclear fuel for ten years, with Iran committing to return the spent fuel.
-- Agence France-Presse via Fox News
September 22, 2013
Iran displayed its 2,000 km range Shahab-3 ballistic missile, as well as its Sejil and Ghadr missiles, in a military parade marking the start of Sacred Defense Week. The solid-fuel Sejil missile has two stages and a greater range than the Shahab-3.
-- Fars News
September 6, 2013
The General Court of the European Union ruled that sanctions imposed on seven Iranian companies should be thrown out because E.U. countries had not established that the companies support proliferation.  The companies include Post Bank of Iran, the Iran Insurance Company, Good Luck Shipping, and the Export Development Bank of Iran.  The sanctions will stay in place for at least two months, pending any appeal to the European Court of Justice.
-- New York Times
September 5, 2013
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani appointed Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as the country’s chief nuclear negotiator.  Iran's nuclear negotiations had previously been controlled by the Supreme National Security Council and had been led by Saeed Jalili.
-- Wall Street Journal
August 28, 2013
The International Atomic Energy Agency reported that Iran has installed more than 1,000 advanced IR-2m centrifuges and is preparing to set-up 2,000 more.  Iran has also increased the number of older IR-1 centrifuges to 15,000, most of which are operating.  The IR-2m is estimated to be three to four times more effective at uranium enrichment than the IR-1.  The IAEA also stated that Iran has delayed the start-up date for the plutonium-producing Arak reactor to after the first quarter of 2014.
-- Associated Press
August 27, 2013
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani appointed Reza Najafi as Tehran's next ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency. He replaces Ali Asghar Soltanieh.
-- Reuters