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Ahmadinejad Inaugurates Nuclear Reactor

From the Voice Of America:

Iran Opens New Phase in Nuclear Program

26 August 2006

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has inaugurated a new heavy-water nuclear reactor at the Arak facility.

The latest phase of the nuclear production plant was opened Saturday during ceremonies at the project, about 200 kilometers southwest of Tehran.

The heavy-water plant will be used to produce plutonium once it is completed in 2009. Western nations fear Iran will use a by-product from the plutonium to build atomic weapons.

Mr. Ahmadinejad opened the new plant just days ahead of the August 31 deadline by the U.N. Security Council mandating Tehran stop its uranium enrichment activities, or risk sanctions.

Iranian officials said Friday Tehran is ready for international talks on its nuclear program, but rejected the West’s "language of force" regarding the issue.

U.S State Department spokesman Gonzago Gallegos said Washington will push for sanctions if Iran does not halt the sensitive nuclear work by the August 31 deadline.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov says it is premature to talk about sanctions, calling for more time to resolve the dispute through negotiations.

And even before these glad tidings, the Los Angeles Times was reporting this:

U.S. May Curb Iran

If the U.N. Security Council won't penalize Tehran for its nuclear program, the White House may forge an alliance to do so.

By Maggie Farley, Times Staff Writer
August 26, 2006

UNITED NATIONS — With increasing signs that several fellow Security Council members may stall a United States push to penalize Iran for its nuclear enrichment program, Bush administration officials have indicated that they are prepared to form an independent coalition to freeze Iranian assets and restrict trade.

The strategy, analysts say, reflects not only long-standing U.S. frustration with the Security Council's inaction on Iran, but also the current weakness of Washington's position because of its controversial role in a series of conflicts in the Middle East, most recently in Lebanon.

Despite assurances from Russia and China in July that they would support initial sanctions against Iran if it failed to suspend aspects of its nuclear program, Russia seemed to backtrack this week after Tehran agreed to continue talks, but refused to halt enrichment. A Security Council resolution gives the Islamic Republic until Aug. 31 to stop uranium enrichment, which could provide fuel to produce electricity or possibly atomic weapons, or face penalties.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei B. Ivanov said Friday that as long as Iran was willing to negotiate, it was "premature" to punish the country and perhaps permanently isolate it.

"I do not know cases in international practice or the whole of the previous experience when sanctions reached their goals or were efficient," Ivanov said.

"Apart from this, I do not think that the issue is so urgent that the U.N. Security Council or the group of six countries" — the U.S., China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany — "should consider the introduction of sanctions. In any case Russia continues to advocate a political and diplomatic solution to the problem." …

Under U.S. terrorism laws, Washington could ramp up its own sanctions, including financial constraints on Tehran and interception of missile and nuclear materials en route to Iran, Bolton said, and the U.S. is encouraging other countries to follow suit. "You don't need Security Council authority to impose sanctions, just as we have," he said…

Somehow I don’t think sanctions are going to cut it.

Mr. Ahmadinejad might be meeting up with his hidden Imam even sooner than he thinks.

This article was posted by Steve on Saturday, August 26th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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