Friday, April 28, 2006

IAEA Report To Be Released Today

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad--often criticized for his inflammatory statements--proved today to have a better handle than most on the facts of the manufactured crisis over Iran's nuclear program.

"Enemies think they can make the Iranians give up their honorable path through propaganda, false publicity, political threats and imposition of sanctions," he said, according to the IRNA news agency. "Iran is a nuclear country. This slogan that nuclear energy is our inalienable right is the outcry of the people and a national demand."

Iran's U.N. ambassador pointed to the fact that nations have the right under international law to pursue nuclear energy programs, and then referred to the Security Council effort to crack down on the Islamic republic:

Javad Zarif, the Iranian ambassador to the United Nations, told reporters in New York that Iran would consider illegitimate any Council resolution calling on Iran to stop uranium enrichment that invoked the so-called Chapter 7 clause, which could open the door to penalties and possibly to military action...

"If the Security Council decides to take decisions that are not within its competence, Iran is not obliged to obey them," Mr. Zarif said, speaking to reporters at the residence of the Iranian Mission to the United Nations in Manhattan...

He also sought to portray Iran's defiant stance as nothing more than a logical response to American threats against Iran

"We're not upping the ante," he said. "We're simply responding to others upping the ante."

China and Russia are continuing to throw cold water upon the diplomatic program against Iran in the U.N.:

"We hope the relevant parties can keep calm and exercise restraint to avoid moves that would further escalate the situation," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin reiterated Russia's position in support of the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction and Iran's right to develop nuclear energy for power generation.

"Iran must have an opportunity to develop modern technologies and peaceful nuclear energy," Putin said Thursday.

As the U.S. Secretary of Defense would quaintly put it, China and Russia are being "unhelpful."

The International Atomic Energy Agency's report on the Iranian nuclear program--which is being cast as the major determinant in Security Council deliberations--will be issued today.

Despite a formal request from the U.N. Security Council, Iran has not provided international inspectors with new information about the country's nuclear program and has accelerated, rather than curbed, uranium-enrichment activities, according to sources familiar with a report the inspectors plan to issue today.

The Iranian program, in any case, appears from the report not to be progressing as successfully as they would probably hope:

Iran announced two weeks ago that it had used a "cascade" -- or array -- of 164 centrifuges to enrich uranium for nuclear fuel. Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency are expected to confirm in the report that Iran ran the cascade successfully, but several officials with knowledge of the nuclear program said yesterday that the cascade was no longer operating and that a number of the networked centrifuges had crashed during a fairly rushed process.

The evidence--much like the proof of the Iraqi WMD program--is not as clear cut as the U.S. is warning the world about:

Inspectors, on their third year of an investigation, have not found proof of a weapons program, but Iran is not fully cooperating and questions remain.

Questions remained about the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction until months after the U.S. invasion.

In other words, no proof is going to be necessary this time either.


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