« | »

Iran Backing Out Of Russian Nuke Deal

We sure didn’t see this coming. No way.

From Iran’s cheerleaders at the DNC’s Associated Press:

Iran Threatens to Abandon Russian Proposal

By GEORGE JAHN, Associated Press Writer

VIENNA, Austria – Iran warned Friday it no longer would consider a Kremlin proposal to move its uranium enrichment program to Russia if it is referred to the U.N. Security Council over suspicions it might be seeking nuclear weapons.

If Iran’s nuclear file goes to the Security Council, "there will be no way we can continue with the Russian proposal," said Javad Vaeidi, deputy head of the powerful National Security Council and a top nuclear negotiator.

He was referring to attempts to persuade Iran to shift its uranium enrichment program to Russia to prevent its misuse for nuclear arms. The 35-nation board of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the world body’s nuclear watchdog, is considering whether to refer Iran to the Security Council over the disputed program.

But Russia’s chief IAEA delegate, Grigory Berdennikov, denied any threat to the proposal.

"Our offer is still on the table and the negotiations will continue," he said Friday.

China’s foreign minister said his country was committed to working with the international community to defuse the standoff over Iran’s suspect nuclear program.

"China is very concerned about the Iranian nuclear issue," Li Zhaoxing told reporters after meeting with top European Union officials in Vienna.

He did not explicitly say China would vote to report Iran to the Security Council, but EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said he had assurances that China would support the referral.

Officials in Tehran have previously suggested referral could endanger the proposal. But Vaeidi’s comments were the first to state outright that Iran would stop considering the plan, which has broad international backing from nations concerned about Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Referral by the 35-nation IAEA board appeared to be a certainty, but its Friday meeting was adjourned until Saturday morning, allowing U.S. and European diplomats to engage in informal negotiations in their bid to seek broad backing for reporting Tehran to the council.

Vaeidi acknowledged that referral seemed unavoidable, telling reporters: "This is an adopted draft.

"It means that the U.S. and the EU-3 are intending to kill two issues, first to stop diplomacy and second to kill the Russian proposal," he said, alluding to France, Britain and Germany, the countries proposing referral in a resolution before the board.

He reiterated earlier threats that Iran will resume full-scale work on uranium enrichment and stop honoring an agreement giving IAEA inspectors broad powers to conduct short-notice inspections of his country’s nuclear program.

"I advise them not to make a historical mistake," he said, alluding to nations actively backing referral.

Backing for Iran at the Vienna meeting appeared to be limited Friday. Cuba, Venezuela, Syria and a few other countries remained opposed, while India was said to be leaning toward supporting referral.

Egypt, one senior diplomat said, was insisting on a mention of a nuclear-free Middle East zone — an allusion to demands that Israel disarm.

Another new draft made available to The Associated Press showed only minimal changes to the one submitted Wednesday and the key demand — referral of Iran to the council — remained.

Diplomats said backing for Iran had shrunk since Russia and China swung their support behind referral at an overnight meeting with the United States, France and Britain — the other three permanent council members.

U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said the number of nations expected to vote against referral was in the "low to single digits." Chief U.S. IAEA delegate Gregory L. Schulte said there was a "solid majority in support of a resolution that reports Iran to the Security Council — and that majority is growing."

In Tehran, former Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani, now leader of the powerful Expediency Council, said taking Iran before the Security Council would be a "black page" in history.

"There can’t be cruelty clearer than this," he told tens of thousands of worshippers gathered for Friday prayers at Tehran University.

IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei said there was a "window of opportunity" to defuse the tensions, stressing that even if the issue is referred, the Security Council would not take up the issue before next month — a condition attached by Russia and China in exchange for their support.

"We are reaching a critical phase, but it is not a crisis," he said.

Iran, which claims its program is peaceful and aimed only at generating electricity, has repeatedly warned that such action would provoke it into doing exactly what the world wants it to renounce — starting full-scale uranium enrichment — as well as curtailing IAEA inspections.

Washington has waited years for international suspicions over Iran’s nuclear ambitions to translate into support among IAEA board members.

Only a simple majority is needed to approve the text, but the United States and its backers have held off pushing for earlier referral in hopes of building support for the measure. Support has grown since Jan. 10, when Iran stripped IAEA seals from enrichment equipment and announced it would restart the program.

It’s almost as if they are stalling, holding out false hope for deals, while they are secretly proceeding apace to build their nuclear program.

But have no fear. The UN and Hillary Clinton will settle their hash.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, February 3rd, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

42 Responses to “Iran Backing Out Of Russian Nuke Deal”

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.

« Front Page | To Top
« | »