Nuclear Progress with Iran; Nuclear Impasse with Pyongyang

October 6th, 2019 - by Nuclear Progress with Iran; Nuclear Impasse with Pyongyang John Bowden / The Hill & Jari Tanner and Matthew Lee / Associated Press

Iran and UN mark continued progress in ongoing nuclear talks. (Photo: The Times of Israel)

Nuclear Watchdog Reports Improved Cooperation with Iran

John Bowden / The Hill

WASHINGTON, DC (October 4, 2019) — The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Friday said Iranian officials have increased their cooperation with the United Nations agency after the organization raised questions reportedly related to traces of uranium found at an undeclared site.

Reuters reported that the IAEA’s acting chief said progress being made between Iran’s government and U.N. officials was a “step in the right direction.”

“Some engagement is ongoing, and this engagement is currently taking place,” acting IAEA chief Cornel Feruta said, adding, “This is an ongoing process … I cannot prejudge how this is going to end. The engagement doesn’t mean that the issues are completely addressed, but it’s a step in the right direction.”

The IAEA is responsible for judging whether a facility Iran’s government claims was used for carpet-cleaning was actually a secret nuclear facility as alleged by Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Iran’s government has also been accused for weeks of stonewalling IAEA inspectors attempting to examine environmental samples of the facility.

The status of Iran’s nuclear program is a controversial topic and led to the Trump administration abandoning a 2015 nuclear agreement signed by the US and Iran, claiming that the Iranian government had forsaken the spirit and letter of the agreement.

Iran has denied that it violated the agreement prior to the US’s exit, and has refused to negotiate with the Trump administration following the president’s decision. Its government has also warned European nations still bound to the deal that Iran will abandon the agreement and ramp up uranium enrichment if Iran is not allowed access to the global economy.

The US and Iran, meanwhile, have seen significantly increased tensions for weeks following the destruction of a US surveillance drone and other attacks in the region blamed on Iranian forces, including the destruction of oil tankers and Saudi oil facilities.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

North Korea Says Nuclear Talks Break Down While US Says They Were ‘Good’

Jari Tanner and Matthew Lee / TIME Magazine

HELSINKI (October 5, 2019) — North Korea’s chief negotiator said Saturday that discussions with the US on Pyongyang’s nuclear program have broken down, but Washington said the two sides had “good discussions” that it intends to build on in two weeks.

The North Korean negotiator, Kim Miyong Gil, said the talks in Stockholm had “not fulfilled our expectations and broke down. I am very displeased about it.” Speaking outside the North Korean Embassy, he read a statement in Korean that a translator next to him read in English.

Kim said negotiations broke down “entirely because the US has not discarded its old stance and attitude.”

Saturday’s talks were the first between the US and North Korea since the February breakdown of the second summit between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un in Vietnam.

North Korea has since resumed missile tests, including an underwater-launched missile that fell inside Japan’s exclusive economic zone Wednesday.

State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said Kim’s comments did “not reflect the content or the spirit” of the “good discussions” that took place over eight-and-a-half hours, adding that the US accepted an invitation from Sweden to return to Stockholm in two weeks to continue discussions.

In a statement, Ortagus said the US delegation “previewed a number of new initiatives that would allow us to make progress in each of the four pillars” of a joint statement issued after Trump and Kim’s first summit in Singapore.

“The United States and the DPRK will not overcome a legacy of 70 years of war and hostility on the Korean Peninsula through the course of a single Saturday,” Ortagus said

Talks were held at the Villa Elfvik Strand conference facility in Lidingo, an island in the Stockholm archipelago located northeast of the capital, Swedish news agency TT said. It added that Kim Miyong Gil arrived on Thursday while US Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun came on Friday.

Because the US does not have official diplomatic relations with North Korea, Sweden has often acted as a bridge between Washington and Pyongyang.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.