Nuclear-weapons capability requires three components - enough fissile material such as highly enriched uranium, a reliable weapons device miniaturised to fit into a missile cone, and an effective delivery system, such as a ballistic missile that can grow out of a space launch programme.
Iran’s efforts to develop and test ballistic missiles and build a space launch capability have contributed to Israeli calls for pre-emptive strikes on Iranian nuclear sites and billions of dollars of U.S. ballistic missile defence spending.
MANOEUVRING OVER NEXT TALKS
A spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said the powers had offered a February meeting to Iran, after a proposal to meet at the end of January was refused.
“Iran did not accept our offer to go to Istanbul on Jan. 28 and 29 and so we have offered new dates in February. We have continued to offer dates since December. We are disappointed the Iranians have not yet agreed,” Michael Mann reporters.
He said Iranian negotiators had imposed new conditions for resuming talks and that EU powers were concerned this might be a stalling tactic. The last in a sporadic series of fruitless talks was held last June.
Iranian officials deny blame for the delays and say Western countries squandered opportunities for meetings by waiting until after the U.S. presidential election in November.
“We have always said that we are ready to negotiate until a result is reached and we have never broken off discussions,” IRNA quoted Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi as saying.
Salehi has suggested holding the next round in Cairo but that the powers wanted another venue. He also said that Sweden, Kazakhstan and Switzerland had offered to host the talks.