US against EU push to censure Iran for nuclear activity

  • : Electricity, Metals
  • 24/05/27

US president Joe Biden's administration is opposing a European push — spearheaded by France — to rebuke Iran for advances in its nuclear program at the UN nuclear watchdog the IAEA's board of governors meeting in June, a diplomatic source with knowledge of the matter told Argus.

"The US isn't enthused about the European effort to censure Iran at the IAEA's member state board meeting in early June," the diplomat said. "But there is a general European atmosphere that is exploring options and measures regarding Iran's nuclear program."

The Biden administration is concerned about the need to manage tensions with Tehran, particularly at what is a highly sensitive moment, the source said.

"Bear in mind, this board of governors meeting is happening around 10 days after the helicopter crash killed (Iran's president Ebrahim) Raisi and (foreign minister Hossein) Amir-Abdollahian" both of whom were primary interlocutors with IAEA director General Rafael Grossi on the nuclear file, the source said.

"There is currently a vacuum in Tehran. Timing is bad," the source said, explaining the US position.

A US State Department spokesman could not be reached for immediate comment.

Concerns among western officials have grown over Iran's nuclear activity in recent years. Former US president Donald Trump in 2018 pulled the US out of a 2015 nuclear deal, resulting in an erosion of strict limits that the agreement had placed on Iran's nuclear program.

Iran, in 2019, began breaching the restrictions and then pushed far beyond them. Tehran has enough highly enriched fissile material for three nuclear weapons, according to the IAEA. Iran is enriching uranium to up to 60pc purity, close to the near 90pc considered to be weapons grade, according to the IAEA.

Grossi in March said inspections in Iran were not what they should have been and called for additional monitoring capabilities, given the depth and breadth of the program.

"On Iran, recent negative developments haven't gone unnoticed. Nuclear threats by Iranian officials, and Grossi's recent interview all sent negative signals," the source said.

The Biden administration has always maintained that it is seeking a diplomatic solution for Iran's nuclear program. And since the conflict between the Gaza-based Palestinian militant group Hamas, backed by Iran, and Israel broke out, the US has attempted to stop the spillover of the conflict into the wider region.

US and Iranian officials have met at least twice for indirect talks in Oman this year.

What are the options?

"There is real concern nowadays within the international community that no one exactly knows where Iran is at the moment when it comes to nuclear enrichment," the source says. The IAEA has lost its "continuity of knowledge" in relation to the production and inventory of centrifuges, rotors and bellows, heavy water and uranium ore concentrate.

"But the options are limited," the source said. The most the IAEA can do if a state is out of compliance with its obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty Safeguards Agreement is to report its concerns to the UN Security Council.

Since June 2020, The IAEA's board of governors has adopted three resolutions regarding Iran's cooperation regarding the non-proliferation agreement.

"Two reports are to be published ahead of the meeting in June. Their outcome will set the scene on whether another resolution will adopted or not," the source said.


Related news posts

Argus illuminates the markets by putting a lens on the areas that matter most to you. The market news and commentary we publish reveals vital insights that enable you to make stronger, well-informed decisions. Explore a selection of news stories related to this one.

24/06/19

Buyers, ex-EU mills discussing HRC quota management

Buyers, ex-EU mills discussing HRC quota management

London, 19 June (Argus) — Buyers and exporters to the EU are trying to reduce the risk of purchasing "other countries" hot-rolled coil (HRC) under the 15pc single country quota cap. They are discussing adding duty-sharing clauses to contracts, and commitments from sellers to not exceed their quotas. Mills from the same countries, in the meantime, are deciding whether it would benefit them to allocate the quarterly quota between themselves, in a similar way to South Korean producers, or adopt India's approach, where each seller has tried to maximise its market share. Participants are preparing for a turbulent lead-up to and start of July, and trying to estimate how much duty will be payable on imports mainly from Japan and Vietnam, but also Egypt and Taiwan. Sources expect that October arrivals could also be above quota allocations. In order for purchasing to resume, amid all the uncertainty, buyers are demanding that sellers provide some guarantees that they would not sell excessively in the EU. But feedback from mills has so far been mixed — Vietnamese sellers have said they cannot be held responsible if exports to the EU are higher than the roughly 142,000 t/quarter allowed duty-free, and they were not willing to share duties with buyers, according to participants. Some buyers said they have enquired with Egypt about committing their full quota to them with a firm bid. But controlling Egypt's quota may be more complicated, as often the mill sells on a fob basis to traders, which may in turn sell to Europe or not, market participants said. Some sources said the producer is allocating volumes per buyer depending on the relationship and historical tonnages purchased. Co-operation between Taiwanese mills could be more straightforward, as export certificates are issued by the Taiwanese steel association, according to a seller, in which case volumes can be tracked and monitored more easily. One source said mills will look to sell higher grades and specialties in lieu of commodity HRC to compensate for the reduction in volume to the EU, but maximise the revenue generated. In Japan, mills have been discussing sharing the allocation between themselves, but each seller is reportedly pushing for a larger portion of the quota, even those that have sold very low historical amounts to the EU previously, placing the most active mill under further pressure. There have been suggestions that Japan could try to ramp up its exports of other products to compensate for the loss in HRC — it is often already the lowest-priced supplier of cold-rolled coil (CRC). Buyers and traders are continuing to urge the EU to allow for a grace period in the meantime, so that the material due to be cleared on 1 July is subject to the old regulations. But it appears that the European Commission, which has not yet officially confirmed that the safeguards have been passed as proposed, is not going to take those requests into account. Sources in Brussels suggest that no grace period has been included in the regulation. By Lora Stoyanova Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Australian opposition releases nuclear power plan


24/06/19
24/06/19

Australian opposition releases nuclear power plan

Sydney, 19 June (Argus) — Australia's main political opposition today laid out its nuclear energy plan. It aims to bring the first government-owned reactors on line as early as 2035-37 if it is elected next year. The Liberal-National coalition announced seven locations where small modular reactors (SMRs) or large-scale units could be installed, all in sites hosting coal-fired power facilities that have either closed or are scheduled to close, and each of them would have cooling water capacity and transmission infrastructure. A SMR could start generating electricity by 2035, while a larger plant could come on line by 2037, according to the coalition. "The Australian government will own these assets, but form partnerships with experienced nuclear companies to build and operate them," the opposition's leader Peter Dutton, spokesman for climate change and energy Ted O'Brien and National party leader David Littleproud said in a joint statement on 19 June. The opposition claims the federal Labor government's "renewables-only approach" is expensive and is "failing", while its target of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 43pc by 2030 has become "unachievable". The coalition earlier this month said it would not pursue the target, although it declined to set its own 2030 goal for GHG emissions cuts . Federal energy minister Chris Bowen said the coalition's plan lacked detail, costs or modelling, although the opposition has vowed to engage with local communities while site studies, including detailed technical and economic assessments, take place. The proposed sites are the Liddell and Mount Piper plants in New South Wales; the Tarong and Callide stations in Queensland; the Loy Yang facility in Victoria; the Northern Power station in South Australia; and the Muja plant in Western Australia. Nuclear power generation is prohibited in Australia under federal and state laws, and the Labor government last year ruled out legalising it because of its high costs. The Australian federal government estimates that replacing Australia's coal-fired plants with nuclear would cost A$387bn ($257bn) . The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) late last year said SMRs would not have "any major role" in emission cuts needed in the electricity sector for the country to reach its net zero GHG emissions target by 2050, as costs would be well above those for onshore wind and solar photovoltaic (PV). Nuclear plants would also take 15 years or more to be deployed because of lengthy periods for certification, planning and construction, CSIRO noted. CSIRO last month included large-scale nuclear costs for the first time in its annual GenCost report, saying costs would be lower than those for SMRs but still way above renewables. Estimated costs between A$136-226/MWh could be reached by 2040, compared with A$171-366/MWh for SMRs and A$144-239/MWh for coal-fired power with carbon capture and storage (CCS), but only if Australia committed to a "continuous nuclear building programme", requiring an initial investment in a higher cost unit. "If a decision to pursue nuclear in Australia were made in 2025, with political support for the required legislative changes, then the first full operation would be no sooner than 2040," CSIRO noted. By Juan Weik Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Ecuador cuts power as heavy rains hurt hydro


24/06/18
24/06/18

Ecuador cuts power as heavy rains hurt hydro

Quito, 18 June (Argus) — Ecuador restarted daily two-hour power outages this week across the country because of issues in the 1.5GW Coca-Codo Sinclaire, 156MW Agoyan and 230MW San Francisco hydroelectric plants. Heavy rainfalls near Coca-Codo Sinclair have increased sediments in the Coca river that feeds the plant, forcing six of its eight turbines out of operation. The plant is the largest generator in the country and is in the provinces of Napo and Sucumbios, in the northeast of the country. In addition, Agoyan's engine house flooded also because of the massive rainfalls and landslides in the central highlands of the country where the plant is located. And the San Francisco plant, downstream of Agoyan, stopped generating as well because it uses the same water supply as Agoyan. Ecuador has lost about 1.5GW-1.9GW of power capacity in recent days because of these issues and 400MW of power capacity available for imports from its northern neighbor Colombia were not enough to prevent the need for rolling outages. The energy ministry will update its plans for outages this week based on the status of the three hydroelectric plants. Ecuador implemented 2–8-hour blackouts for 12 days from 16-30 April because of a lack of rain in the main hydroelectric plants after dry conditions also led to 35 days of blackouts from October-December 2023. By Alberto Araujo Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Brazil steel market braces for CSN price increase


24/06/17
24/06/17

Brazil steel market braces for CSN price increase

Sao Paulo, 17 June (Argus) — Brazilian steelmaker CSN is expected to increase prices for some of its products weeks after the government announced new tariffs on imported steel. The company plans to raise prices for hot-rolled coil (HRC) by 7.5pc starting on 1 July and by 5pc to other products such as cold-rolled coil (CRC), three sources familiar with the matter told Argus, citing information from CSN to some of its clients. The move comes days after Brazil's government announced the rules for new tariffs on imported steel aimed at protecting domestic producers. CSN declined to comment. By Carolina Pulice Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Iran rebukes G7 over nuclear warning: Update


24/06/17
24/06/17

Iran rebukes G7 over nuclear warning: Update

Adds quotes from IAEA director general Dubai, 17 June (Argus) — Iran's foreign ministry has called on the G7 to distance itself from "destructive policies of the past" after the group issued a statement condemning Tehran's recent nuclear programme escalation. "Unfortunately, some countries, driven by political motives and by resorting to baseless and unproven claims, attempt to continue their failed and ineffective policy of imposing and maintaining sanctions against the Iranian nation," the foreign ministry's spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said on 16 June. Kanaani advised the G7 "to learn from past experiences and distance itself from destructive past policies". His comments were in response to a joint statement from G7 leaders on 14 June warning Iran against advancing its nuclear enrichment programme. The leaders said they would be ready to enforce new measures if Tehran were to transfer ballistic missiles to Russia. The G7's reference to Iran comes on the heels of a new resolution passed by the board of governors of the UN's nuclear watchdog the IAEA . The resolution calls on Iran to step up co-operation and reverse its decision to restrict the agency access to nuclear facilities by de-designating inspectors. Kanaani said "any attempt to link the war in Ukraine to the bilateral co-operation between Iran and Russia is an act with only biased political goals", adding that some countries are "resorting to false claims to continue sanctions" against Iran. Tehran will continue its "constructive interaction and technical co-operation" with the IAEA, Kanaani said. But the agency's resolution is "politically biased", he said. Not an "anti-Iran" policy In an interview with the Russian daily newspaper Izvestia published today, IAEA director general Rafael Grossi refused claims of political bias. "We do co-operate with Iran. I don't deny this. This is important for inspection. My Iranian colleagues often say that Iran is the most inspected country in the world. Well, it is, and for good reason. But this is not enough," Grossi said, adding that the IAEA does not adhere to an "anti-Iran policy". Grossi also stressed the need for countries to return to diplomacy with Iran, while expressing concerns over the expansion of its nuclear programme. "Russia plays a very important role in this diplomacy, trying to keep the Iranian programme within a predictable and peaceful framework. But again, everything needs to be controlled," he said. The IAEA's new resolution and the reference to Iran in the G7 statement could be the start of a more concerted effort to raise pressure on Tehran over its nuclear programme. "What is happening right now is the process of accumulation of resolutions, so that when the day comes and the IAEA makes a referral to the UN Security Council, there will be enough resolutions to make a case for action at the security council level," a diplomatic source told Argus . Iran is enriching uranium to as high as 60pc purity. Near 90pc is considered to be weapons grade, according to the IAEA. By Bachar Halabi Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Business intelligence reports

Get concise, trustworthy and unbiased analysis of the latest trends and developments in oil and energy markets. These reports are specially created for decision makers who don’t have time to track markets day-by-day, minute-by-minute.

Learn more