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Outside View: Iran Dumps Russian Nuke Plan

Moscow (UPI) Nov 24, 2005
It looks as if Tehran wants its "nuclear dossier" to be sent to the United Nations Security Council. This is the only conclusion prompted by the latest statements and steps of Tehran officials.

Moreover, Iran did this on the eve of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) meeting, where the decision is to be made whether to send the dossier to the Security Council (which is fraught with immediate sanctions), or to give Iran more time.

On Sept. 24, the IAEA board adopted a resolution on Iran, which demands that it stops uranium enrichment or else its dossier would be forwarded to the Security Council.

The IAEA Board rejected Tehran's claims to a full nuclear fuel cycle, where uranium enrichment is the main technological link. The creation of the enrichment cycle is a step toward nuclear weapons production, of which the United States and other states suspect Iran.

Tehran's reaction to the board's resolution was very negative, but it was expected to try to find an intermediate, if not a compromise, solution to the problem.

The compromise entailed the Russian option, under which Russia would enrich uranium and produce nuclear fuel. According to the intermediate option, Tehran would extend the moratorium on uranium enrichment, thus giving a hope for continued talks with the European Trio or Troika -- France, Britain and Germany. In the latter case, the three states and the United States would not demand that the IAEA Board send the dossier to the Security Council.

Some experts even claim that last week the trio and the United States called on Tehran to accept the Russian option. But Golamreza Aghazadeh, president of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, rejected the initiative, saying that "Iranian nuclear fuel should be produced in the national territory."

After that Iran warned the IAEA in late October that it planned to resume uranium processing. The raw materials it plans to enrich at Isfahan would suffice to create a nuclear warhead. According to information from anonymous sources close to the IAEA, Iran has started processing a new batch of uranium at the Isfahan plant. Therefore, there are grounds to assume that Tehran is deliberately pushing the international community into sending its dossier to the UN Security Council.

Can the voting at the IAEA take different paths? Who will vote for sending the dossier and who will be against if? The UN Security Council is not an institute for political studies; problems are forwarded there only when the consensus of the Council's permanent members is assured. The question is, how will Russia and China vote at the IAEA session? They abstained at the previous Board session, and it is not clear what they may do this time.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told journalists after a meeting with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that Moscow and Washington had agreed to cooperate with the European Trio on the Iranian problem. "We agree that the talks should be resumed and we will do everything possible to attain this goal," Lavrov said.

Moscow will do its best to encourage Iran to resume talks with the European Trio and cooperation with the IAEA. But Moscow's efforts would not suffice, as Tehran should meet it half way. But it has not even started moving.

Pyotr Goncharov is a political commentator for the RIA Novosti news agency. This article is reprinted by permission of RIA Novosti.

United Press International's "Outside View" commentaries are written by outside contributors who specialize in a variety of important issues. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of United Press International. In the interests of creating an open forum, original submissions are invited.

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High-Tech Firms/Executives Sentenced In Export Case, Reports US Attorney
Boston MA (SPX) Nov 23, 2005
Two New England high-technology companies and their top executives were sentenced late Friday, November 18, 2005, in federal court for violating United States export law in connection with the export to India of equipment that is used to manufacture a material that improves the accuracy of strategic ballistic missiles with nuclear capabilities.

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