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Timeline: Iran's controversial nuclear programme

Yesterday Iran and six world powers met for talks on Tehran’s controversial nuclear programme.

Saeed Jalili, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council poses for a photo in Almaty (Stanislav Filippov/AP).

IRAN AND SIX world powers – the United States, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany – met in Almaty, Kazakhstan yesterday for new talks on Tehran’s controversial nuclear programme.

Long-running conflict has been unfolding since 2005, so to clear a few things up, here are some of the key developments:


- August 8: Iran resumes its uranium conversion activities, insisting that it only seeks to generate energy, and not as international powers suspect, to build nuclear bombs. It had suspended the activities a year earlier following a deal with European Union members Britain, France and Germany.


- December 23: The UN Security Council imposes sanctions on Iran’s trade in sensitive nuclear materials and technology. It strengthens the measures in 2007 and 2008.


- April 9: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says his country can produce nuclear fuel on an industrial scale.

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad flashes the victory sign as he attends the 12th summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Cairo, Egypt, this month (Amr Nabil/AP).


- April 9: Iran declares major advances in its atomic drive as Ahmadinejad opens a nuclear fuel plant at Isfahan.

- September 25-28: Iran reveals a previously unknown uranium enrichment plant, Fordo, being built inside a mountain near the central holy city of Qom.


- February 9: Iran starts enriching uranium to 20 percent.

- June-July: World powers impose new military and financial sanctions.


- January 22: New talks between Iran and six world powers in Istanbul fail.

- November 8: The UN nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, points to a possible military dimension to the Iranian programme.

- December 31: US President Barack Obama signs into law tough new sanctions.

President Barack Obama signs the Iran Sanctions Bill (J. Scott Applewhite/AP).


- February 15: Ahmadinejad unveils what is said to be Iran’s first domestically produced, 20-percent enriched fuel for a research reactor.

- April 14: In Istanbul, world powers and Iran hold their first substantive talks in 15 months, and agree to meet again in May.

- May 23: A new meeting takes place between Iran and world powers in Baghdad. The world powers demand that Iran suspend uranium enrichment to 20 percent, in return for various sweeteners but not Iran’s key demand of relaxing some of the UN Security Council and unilateral sanctions.

- June 8: The IAEA and Iran, meeting in Vienna, fail to agree a deal allowing greater access to Tehran’s nuclear programme, notably the Parchin military site.

- July 1: An EU embargo on Iranian oil comes into force.

A section of Tehran’s oil refinery in Iran (Vahid Salemi/AP).

- July 12: The United States announces a fresh wave of financial sanctions against Iran, targeting more than 50 front companies and banks.

- August 24: The IAEA says that “intensive” talks with Iran failed after it fails to gain unconditional access to certain sites.

- October 15: The EU agrees tough new financial and trade sanctions against Iran.

- November 5: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he is ready to order a strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities “if necessary”.

- November 16: The IAEA says Tehran has completed installation at its Fordo site, allowing it to significantly ramp up uranium enrichment.

- November 30: New US sanctions.


- January 16-17: Talks between the UN atomic agency and Iran in Tehran end without agreement on access to its nuclear programme, as do further talks on February 12-14.

- February 26: Iran and world powers open new talks in the Kazakh city of Almaty, with both sides vowing to present offers in a bid to end the crisis.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, left, and Saeed Jalili, secretary of Iran’’s Supreme National Security Council leave a podium after posing for a photo in Almaty (Stanislav Filippov/AP).

- © AFP 2013.

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