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UN Irate At Iran Nukes, Letter To Follow

Never fear. The UN is on the job.

From the DNC’s Associated Press:

Apr 28, 7:45 AM EDT

Iran Expected to Miss U.N. Deadline

By GEORGE JAHN
Associated Press Writer

VIENNA, Austria (AP) — A top Iranian official handed over material on his country’s nuclear program in an effort to stave off U.N. sanctions, but it may be a case of too little too late.

Diplomats said they expect U.N. nuclear chief Mohamed ElBaradei to find that Iran failed to meet Friday’s deadline for complying with council requests to suspend uranium enrichment, setting the stage for a confrontation at the Security Council.

If Iran does not comply, the council is likely to consider punitive measures against the Islamic republic. While Russia and China have been reluctant to endorse sanctions, the council’s three other veto-wielding members say a strong response is in order.

The United States, France and Britain say if Tehran does not meet the deadline, they will make the enrichment demand and other conditions compulsory and they want punitive measures to stay on the table.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said it was time for the Security Council to act if the world body wished to remain credible.

"The Security Council is the primary and most important institution for the maintenance of peace and stability and security and it cannot have its word and its will simply ignored by a member state," Rice told reporters at a NATO foreign ministers’ meeting in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Iran’s deputy nuclear chief, Mohammad Saeedi, met Thursday with Olli Heinonen, the IAEA’s deputy director general in charge of Iran’s nuclear file.

Diplomats, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss confidential details of the IAEA’s Iran probe, said they had no details of what Saeedi had brought to the table.

Still, they characterized the meeting between Saeedi and Olli Heinonen, the IAEA’s deputy director general in charge of Iran’s nuclear file, as unlikely to blunt the report’s main finding – that Tehran has ignored council requests to suspend uranium enrichment.

U.S. Ambassador John Bolton already has said he plans to introduce a resolution requiring Tehran to comply with the council’s demand to stop its enrichment program. The resolution would not call for sanctions now, but it would be introduced under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which allows for sanctions and is militarily enforceable.

Iran’s U.N. ambassador, Javad Zarif, said Tehran will refuse to comply with such a resolution because its activities are legal and peaceful. Enrichment can be used to generate fuel or make the fissile core of nuclear weapons.

"If the Security Council decides to take decisions that are not within its competence, then Iran does not feel obliged to obey," he said.

He also said Tehran was prepared to return to discussions of the offer it made in negotiations with the Europeans last year if the international community agrees to "stop this nonsense, pressure tactic."

A Russian proposal to move Tehran’s uranium enrichment to Russian territory "is still alive," he said, "and Iran is prepared to consider any proposal that will guarantee Iran’s rights."

Iran’s hard-line president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, also vowed that "no one" could make his country give up nuclear technology.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, meanwhile, insisted the U.N. nuclear watchdog should continue to play a central role in the dispute. "It mustn’t shrug this role from its shoulders and pass it on to the U.N. Security Council," Putin said.

But a top French diplomat laid out a starkly contrasting position reflecting U.S. and British views: The Security Council should not only have primacy in dealing with Iran but also should start considering how to increase the pressure. But, the diplomat said, a U.N. resolution would not automatically mean resorting to military action.

The Security Council adopted a statement a month ago giving Iran until Friday to suspend all activities linked to enrichment because it can be used to make the highly enriched uranium used in the core of nuclear warheads.

Instead of complying, Iran – which says it seeks the technology only to generate electric power – has upped the ante in recent weeks, announcing it had for the first time successfully enriched uranium and was doing research on advanced centrifuges that would let it produce more of the material in less time.

Western concern has grown since 2002 when Iran was found to be working on large-scale plans to enrich uranium.

While the IAEA has found no "smoking gun" proving Iran wants nuclear arms, a series of reports have revealed worrying clandestine activities – like plutonium processing – and documents, including drawings of how to mold weapons-grade uranium metal into the shape of a warhead.

If it weren’t so damned tragic, it would be hilarious.

  Update!

Here’s the latest from Saudi-owned Reuters:

Iran spurns UN pressure in nuclear dispute

Fri Apr 28, 2006

By Mark Heinrich

VIENNA (Reuters) – Iran will ignore pressure to halt its atomic work, its president said on Friday, hours before the world’s nuclear watchdog was expected to confirm that Tehran has flouted U.N. Security Council demands…

Those who want to prevent Iranians from obtaining their right, should know that we do not give a damn about such resolutions,” Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told a rally in northwest Iran, the official IRNA news agency reported.

International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei was likely to report later in the day that Iran has refused to stop enriching uranium and is stalling IAEA inquiries, in defiance of demands set by the Security Council a month ago.

“Enemies think that by … threatening us, launching psychological warfare or … imposing embargoes they can dissuade our nation from obtaining nuclear technology,” Ahmadinejad said…

Really shocking, eh?

I’m sure the UN will take the gloves off now.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, April 28th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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