Originally published on Thu February 7, 2013 5:27 pm
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (center) visits a uranium enrichment facility in Natanz, Iran, in 2008. Enriching uranium requires many fast-spinning centrifuges, arranged in what's called a cascade.
Iran's government on Thursday made clear it has no interest in direct talks until the U.S. eases sanctions that have been squeezing Iran's economy. But the Obama administration isn't budging and says the ball is in the Iranians' court.
The suspicion that Iran wants to make a nuclear weapon is the rationale for the sanctions as well as for veiled threats of U.S. or Israeli military action if those sanctions fail.
Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has shut down any possibility of direct negotiation with the U.S. over its nuclear program. In comments on his Facebook page, Khamenei said his country wouldn't accept an offer under pressure.
"Having relationships and negotiating with countries who had no deceit against us is in our national interest....Given the history and current facts, our nation won't negotiate under pressure or (with) those threatening us."
This monitor screen image shows a graphic of the orbit of the satellite carried by the Unha-3 rocket, which North Korea launched this week. The image is from the Korean Central News Agency, distributed in Tokyo by the Korea News Service.
This image from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency shows the long-range rocket Unha-3 as seen at a satellite control center prior to Wednesday's successful launch.
Credit KCNA via KNS / AFP/Getty Images
North Korea's successful rocket launch may conjure up visions of nuclear missiles in the hands of one of the planet's least predictable regimes. But building a satellite launch vehicle doesn't directly translate into an ability to rain warheads on distant enemies.