Nuclear Weapons - 2009 DevelopmentsOn 21 January 2009 Iran and Tanzania signed a deal for mutual cooperation in the field of defense. Exchange of defense and military experience as well as educational and technical delegations were among the provisions of the agreement.
On 26 January 2009 the Russian contractor for the completion of Iran’s Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP), AtomStroyExport, announced that the activities at that plant were proceeding as scheduled, which included its fuel pool strength test.
On 4 February 2009 top diplomats from six world powers held talks on Iran's nuclear program, a day after Tehran announced the launch of its first satellite into orbit. The United States, some European countries and Israel expressed concern, following Iran's announcement that an Iranian-made rocket carried a domestically-built satellite into orbit. Experts said that the same ballistic technology used to put the probe into space could also be used in long-range missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
On 5 February 2009 the head of Russia's state nuclear power corporation Rosatom said that a trial run of the Bushehr nuclear power plant in southern Iran was scheduled for that year.
On 20 February 2009 diplomats close to the U.N. nuclear agency said Iran had been underestimating the amount of uranium it had enriched by nearly one-third. An IAEA report said Iran had produced a total of 839 kilograms of low-enriched uranium (UF6) by mid-November of 2008. But the agency's previous report, published in November of 2008, said Iran at the time estimated that it had produced only 630 kilograms, a difference of about a third.
On 25 February 2009 the head of Russia's nuclear power corporation said that Russia had completed the construction of Iran's first nuclear power plant at Bushehr and launched start-up operations. Russia and Iran planned to sign a nuclear fuel supply contract for a term of at least 10 years.
On 26 February 2009 a British newspaper said that three European countries were proposing new sanctions against Iran because of its nuclear program. The Financial Times reported that France, Germany and Britain had drawn up a list of possible targets for new European Union sanctions.
On 13 March 2009 Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that pressure from Western powers that tried to keep Iran in economic isolation had in fact spurred the country to become a space and nuclear power. U.S. President Barack Obama then extended U.S. sanctions against Iran for at least another year.
On 18 March 2009 Syrian President Bashar al-Assad proposed to mediate between the West and Iran, and told an Italian newspaper that he was prepared to act as a go-between to improve relations that had been further strained over Iran's nuclear program.
On 8 April 2009 Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that he planned to commission a new stage of nuclear programs during his visit to Isfahan. The details of these plans were undisclosed. Also, the United States, in a policy shift, said it would play a full role in future big-power talks with Iran over its nuclear program.
On 9 April 2009 Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad inaugurated his country's first nuclear fuel plant, and a senior official said Iran had installed more nuclear enrichment centrifuges. Iran's nuclear chief, Gholamreza Aghazadeh, also in Isfahan, said Iran had installed about 7,000 centrifuges at its Natanz uranium enrichment complex.
On 15 April 2009 Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told an audience in the town of Kerman that Tehran was preparing a new package of proposals for the West, aimed to resolve the lengthy international dispute over its nuclear program. He said the package could be used as a basis to solve the nuclear problem. It would be offered to the West, soon, and it would ensure peace and justice for the world.
On 22 April 2009 Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the United States was laying groundwork for new sanctions against Iran if outreach to Tehran on its nuclear program failed to produce results.
On 28 April 2009 the U.S. Congress took steps to tighten sanctions against Iran in what many lawmakers called an effort to provide President Barack Obama the authority he needed to increase pressure on Tehran over its nuclear program.
On 18 May 2009 U.S. President Barack Obama said he had not ruled out a range of steps to take with Iran if it pursued nuclear weapons, which included "much stronger" international sanctions.
On 25 May 2009 Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran would not hold any further talks with world powers on its controversial nuclear program. Mr. Ahmadinejad told a news conference in Tehran that Iran would only agree to discussions with major powers about cooperating in managing global problems. He said Iran would not participate in talks about nuclear issues outside the framework of the U.N. nuclear agency.
On 29 May 2009 Iran’s Minister of Energy, Parviz Fattah, said that Iran’s Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant will generate electricity as of the next Iranian year of 1389 (March 21, 2010-March 20, 2011).
On 3 June 2009 the Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, said his country had no plans to bomb Iran. Lieberman told reporters in Moscow that Israel did not "need" to carry out attacks on Iran and that Israel was a strong country and could defend itself. The Israeli foreign minister added that Iran was not just a problem for Israel but the entire Middle East and that Israel would not be the one to solve the problem.
On 11 June 2009 Iran’s representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency Ali-Asghar Soltanieh said that the construction of the Arak reactor was moving along as planned.
On 13 June 2009 Israel was concerned about the re-election of hardline Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Israel stated that the election results would increase regional tensions and instability. Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon issued a statement which said that the election results showed that Iran would continue its quest for nuclear weapons.
On 17 June 2009 the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said he believed Iran would like to have the ability to build nuclear weapons.
On 16 July 2009 the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization head, Gholam Reza Aghazadeh, resigned. Aghazadeh also stepped down from his position as one of the Islamic Republic's 10 vice presidents.
On 18 July 2009 Iran's newly-appointed nuclear energy chief, Ali Akbar Salehi, called for an end to hostilities between his country and the West, and renewed efforts to build trust.
On 10 August 2009 Clinton said the United States resigned to having to cope with the next Ahmadinejad government. She said President Barack Obama had set a September 2009 deadline for Tehran to reply. If no response was forthcoming, he would consult allies at a summit of the G20 group of developed and developing nations late in September 2009 on the next step forward. The United States had spoken of the possibility of fresh and severe sanctions against Iran, which included denying it imports of gasoline.
On 20 August 2009 diplomatic sources in Vienna said that Iran allowed United Nations inspectors to visit a nuclear reactor after denying them entry for the past year.
On 28 August 2009 German Chancellor Angela Merkel pushed Iran to resume talks on its disputed nuclear program, or face new sanctions. She said yesterday that stronger sanctions in the energy and financial sectors would be considered if Iran did not agree to negotiate by September 2009.
On 1 September 2009 Iran's top nuclear negotiator stated that the country was ready to resume negotiations with world powers over its controversial nuclear program.
On 2 September 2009 six world powers met that week in Frankfurt, Germany, and discussed imposing harsher sanctions on Iran if it does not abandon its controversial nuclear program.
On 5 September 2009 Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez met with his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmedinejad as a part of his two-day visit to Tehran. Upon his arrival, he said there was no proof that Iran was building a nuclear bomb and he hoped to build a nuclear partnership with the Islamic republic.
On 7 September 2009 the head of the United Nations atomic watchdog warned that the agency had reached a deadlock with Iran over most aspects of its nuclear program as he urged the country to credibly answer the international community's concerns over potential military dimensions to the program.
On 9 September 2009 Iran's foreign minister handed over a new package of proposals related to its controversial nuclear program to representatives of six world powers. The content of the proposals remained undisclosed.
On 22 September 2009 the state IRNA news agency reported that Iran had developed a new generation centrifuge for enriching uranium. Iranian Vice-President Ali Akbar Salehi, who headed the country's Atomic Energy Organization, said Iranian specialists were "increasing the size" of the new centrifuges.
On 23 September 2009 Russian President Dmitry Medvedev opened the door to tougher sanctions intended to stop Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program. Russia had strong economic ties with Iran, and had repeatedly opposed sanctions against the Islamic state. But after talking with President Obama on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly meeting, Mr. Medvedev appeared to soften the Russian position.
On 25 September 2009 the UN nuclear watchdog confirmed that Tehran had informed it that Iran was building a second uranium enrichment plant. Iran had refused to disclose the whereabouts of the facility.
On 1 October 2009 talks between six world powers and Iran on the Islamic Republic's controversial nuclear program began in Geneva. European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana said Iran promised to cooperate fully with the International Atomic Energy Agency on inspections of the recently revealed facility, located near the holy city of Qom.
On 4 October 2009 the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said Iran would allow inspectors to visit its newly revealed uranium-enrichment site on 25 October 2009.
On 6 October 2009 the head of Tehran's nuclear program announced plans to install a more advanced type of centrifuge at the country's newly-revealed nuclear facility near the Shi'ite holy city of Qom. The U.S. Senate in response planned to increase sanctions on Iran.
On 20 October 2009 the Vienna talks on Iran's nuclear program were delayed after an Iranian official said France was not needed at the talks. The negotiators were discussing a proposal to have Iran ship uranium to Russia and France for conversion to reactor fuel.
On 21 October 2009 the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) gave Iran and three world powers until Friday (23 October 2009) to endorse a uranium enrichment agreement that could ease Western concerns about Iran's nuclear program.
On 26 October 2009 the Iranian foreign minister said that Tehran considered buying uranium for its nuclear research reactor from China.
On 29 October 2009 Iran submitted an initial response on a draft agreement on fuel for its civilian nuclear research facility to the head of the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency. Iran stated that there needed to be some technical and economic amendments added to the draft. Specific changes to the draft were not mentioned.
On 7 November 2009 a senior Iranian MP said that Iran would not ship out its low-enriched uranium for further processing abroad.
On 13 November 2009 President Obama renewed U.S. economic sanctions against Iran for another year.
On 14 November 2009 Turkey stated it would be willing to store enriched uranium for use in Iranian atomic power plants, to ease international concerns over Iran's nuclear program.
On 16 November 2009 Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said that the Bushehr nuclear power plant would not be completed by the end of the 2009 year due to technical problems.
On 27 November 2009 the board of the International Atomic Energy Agency censured Iran for its nuclear program, in a motion endorsed by all five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. The motion called on Iran to halt construction of a recently revealed uranium enrichment plant. The measure said the plant violated a United Nations Security Council resolution. The motion also demanded that Iran cease enriching uranium.
On 29 November 2009 Iran’s Cabinet ministers assigned Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization to start construction of ten new nuclear sites within two months and to consider the production of 20 percent enriched uranium for Tehran’s medical research reactor.
On 2 December 2009 President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the nuclear issue was over and they did not have a nuclear issue to negotiate on with others.
On 4 December 2009 an Iranian nuclear official said Tehran will only share the minimum amount of information about planned uranium enrichment facilities with the United Nations nuclear agency.
On 5 December 2009 Iran's nuclear chief stated that Tehran planned to build 20 new nuclear enrichment plants the size of its facility at Natanz in order to produce the fuel it needed for its power plants.
On 11 December 2009 France asked its fellow members on the United Nations Security Council to start work on a new round of sanctions against Iran for its refusal to verify the peaceful character of its nuclear program.
On 16 December 2009 the U.S. passed new sanctions that targeted gasoline imports to Iran in an effort to curb Iran’s nuclear program.
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