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Posted: 4/12/2006 11:00:16 PM EDT
Looks like its getting close to "game time" for the idiot shit talking theocrat in Iran.




Rice on Iran: 'We can't let this continue'
Russia, Britain also blast Tehran's nuclear move

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Wednesday that it is "time for action" on international demands for Iran to cease its uranium enrichment activities.

Iran said Tuesday it had enriched uranium at a level of concentration high enough to operate a nuclear power plant, defying last month's U.N. Security Council presidential statement calling for Tehran to suspend the program.

"When the Security Council reconvenes [later this month], I think it will be time for action," Rice said. "We can't let this continue."

Rice did not elaborate on what type of action the Security Council should take, but senior State Department officials said it could include a move to impose a travel ban against Iranian officials and freezing assets of the regime.

The latter is already in effect in the United States, but a U.N. resolution would mean all 185 U.N. members would have to also freeze assets of the Iranian regime.

The head of the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency arrived Wednesday in Tehran for talks he hopes will defuse the tension over Iran's program, according to The Associated Press. He told reporters he was optimistic about the discussions.

"The time is right for a political solution, and the way is negotiations," Mohamed ElBaradei told journalists at Mehrabad International Airport, AP reported. "I would like to see Iran come to terms with the requests of the international community."

He further said the purpose of his trip is "to clarify remaining outstanding issues on the nature of the Iranian program," according to AP.

Foreign ministers in Russia and Britain on Wednesday joined the United States in expressing concern about Iran's announcement.

"Definitely, this is a step in the wrong direction," said Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Krivtsov. "It runs counter to the [IAEA] board of governors resolutions and a statement by the U.N. Security Council president."

British Foreign Minister Jack Straw said he was "seriously concerned" by Iran's declaration and urged Tehran to suspend its sensitive nuclear work and return to talks.

"The latest Iranian statement further undermines international confidence in the Iranian regime and is deeply unhelpful," Straw said Wednesday in a statement. (Full story)

The West, led by the United States, believes that Iran plans to build nuclear weapons and says the move only underscores why the global community has serious concerns about Tehran's nuclear ambitions. (Watch what Iran's announcement could mean in the future -- 2:06)

Iran has said it has a right to produce nuclear fuel for peaceful purposes.

"This latest announcement is a step that is further going to isolate Iran," Rice said. "It demonstrates that Iran is not adhering to the international community's requirements, and I do think the Security Council will need to take into consideration this move by Iran.

"And it will be time when it reconvenes on this case for strong steps to make certain we maintain the credibility of the international community."

Rice said that Iran had failed on "many opportunities to negotiate in good faith."
IAEA still in talks

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia still supports a diplomatic solution. (Full story)

"We back more intensive contacts between Iran and the IAEA and urge Iran to cooperate actively," Lavrov told reporters.

"I would not make any conclusions in haste," he added. "Emotions run high too often over the Iranian nuclear program. As I've said on many occasions, Russia's task is to rule out violations of the nuclear weapons nonproliferation regime."

At the United Nations, China called on Tehran to suspend enrichment, but reiterated its opposition to any punitive measures against Iran, according to a report from The Associated Press.

Rice spokesman Sean McCormack said the secretary called ElBaradei in advance of his meeting in Tehran.

Talks between Iran and Britain, France and Germany stalled in January when Iran began small-scale uranium enrichment and ended its voluntary cooperation with the IAEA, which had been conducting surprise inspections.

IAEA inspectors are at a facility in Natanz, Iran, but it is unclear whether they witnessed the enrichment process, which took place Sunday. (Uranium enrichment explainer)

Gholamreza Aghazadeh, head of Iran's atomic energy agency, said Natanz had used an array of 164 centrifuges to enrich uranium at 3.5 percent -- a low-grade level sufficient to run a power plant but far below the 90 percent required for weapons.

On Wednesday, Iran's deputy nuclear chief said his country intends to increase production at Natanz to the facility's full capacity of 54,000 centrifuges.

Mohammad Saeedi told Iran's Mehr News Agency that at full capacity, Natanz would provide enough low-grade uranium to operate a 1,000-megawatt power station.

Saeedi gave no timetable to reach the 54,000-centrifuge operation but said the country would have 3,000 centrifuges operational by next March.

Nuclear weapons require many thousands of centrifuges.

"They have a long, long way to go," said Joseph Cirincione, director for nonproliferation at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "What they may have achieved, and we'll know for certain after we get reports from the international inspectors in a coupleof weeks, is they enriched a minuscule amount of uranium."

Cirincione said Iran likely is at least four to five years away from enriching enough uranium to build its first nuclear weapon.

But he said, "I don't think you can trust the Iranians that this program is only for peaceful purposes.

"Most countries that enrich uranium do so when they have 20 or more [nuclear power] reactors," he said. "Iran hasn't even opened up its first."

According to the IAEA, 31 nations have nuclear power plants, either in operation or under construction.

Bush administration officials say they are pursuing a diplomatic solution with Iran even as they have been fending off questions over a report in this week's issue of The New Yorker magazine that preparations for military strikes on Iran -- possibly including nuclear weapons -- have gone "beyond contingency planning." ( Watch how Iran poses much different diplomatic obstacles than Iraq -- 2:00)

U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld dismissed the article by journalist Seymour Hersh as a trip to "fantasyland."

"Let me be clear: The department's policy is the president's policy," Rumsfeld said. "President Bush and America's allies are on a diplomatic track." (Full story)

CNN's Elise Labott and Journalist Shirzad Bozorgmehr contributed to this report.

Copyright 2006 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.



www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/04/12/iran.nuclear/index.html
Link Posted: 4/13/2006 12:38:42 AM EDT
Nobody?

Link Posted: 4/13/2006 12:40:22 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/13/2006 12:47:06 AM EDT by glockguy40]


Iran's Defiance Narrows U.S. Options for Response

By Peter Baker
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, April 13, 2006; A18

www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/12/AR2006041201967_2.html?nav=rss_world

As Iran takes a step closer to developing nuclear capacity, President Bush finds his options ever more constricted. The Iranians seem unfazed by U.N. statements. The Russians and Chinese won't go along with economic sanctions. And the generals at the Pentagon hate the idea of a military strike.

The White House declared yesterday that "it is time for action" by the U.N. Security Council, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called on it to take "strong steps" to force Tehran to abandon uranium enrichment. But even as Europeans, Russians and Chinese expressed disapproval of Iran's latest move, there were no signs of consensus on what to do about it.

The central problem for Bush, according to aides and analysts, is that Iran has proved impervious so far to the diplomatic levers Washington and its partners have been willing to use. Some administration officials have grown increasingly skeptical that a solution can be found, raising the prospect that, like North Korea before it, a second member of the trio of rogue states Bush once dubbed the "axis of evil" may ultimately develop a nuclear bomb over U.S. objections.

Bush is especially frustrated with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has abandoned negotiations with the Europeans and defied international pressure while talking of wiping Israel "off the map." Bush's chief political adviser, Karl Rove, complained during an appearance yesterday in Houston that it is hard to find a diplomatic resolution because Ahmadinejad "is not a rational human being."

That has left Bush with few attractive alternatives. "At this point, your options seem to be not good and scarce," said Ray Takeyh, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. "Your other option is living with it . . . and I think that's what will happen."

"Their Plan A is to put incremental pressure on Iran so it will cave," said retired Air Force Col. P.J. Crowley, a National Security Council aide under President Bill Clinton who now works at the liberal Center for American Progress. "And there is no Plan B."

Iran escalated the standoff by announcing that it has enriched uranium in a 164-centrifuge network to 3.5 percent. If true, the achievement would be a milestone but not one that necessarily makes a bomb imminent. Iran has insisted it wants nuclear energy for civilian purposes. Weapons-grade uranium would have to be enriched to at least 80 percent and would need thousands of centrifuges operating in tandem.

Iran reiterated yesterday that it plans to construct 3,000 centrifuges at its facility in Natanz within a year and declared it would eventually expand to 54,000. Making so many centrifuges work together is especially tricky, according to scientists. Acting Assistant Secretary of State Stephen G. Rademaker told reporters in Moscow yesterday that, once built, a 3,000-centrifuge cascade could produce enough highly enriched uranium to build a bomb within 271 days. A 50,000-centrifuge cascade, he said, would need 16 days to yield enough fissile material.

Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, headed to Tehran, and his inspectors are expected to report on whether the Iranian claims are true. But the announcement electrified the diplomatic circuit and highlighted the challenge to Bush. British, French and German officials all criticized Iran for "going in precisely the wrong direction," as German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier put it. Russia and China also called the development unwelcome but still resisted a tough U.N. response.

Andrei Denisov, Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, counseled restraint and said "it is not high time" to reach a judgment about Iran's ultimate nuclear aims. In an interview, Denisov said Moscow is concerned about reports that the Bush administration is studying military options and remains skeptical of sanctions. "We don't like sanctions, we don't like imposing any forceful settlement. It must be political and diplomatic."

The Security Council in a presidential statement last month gave Iran 30 days to suspend uranium enrichment, a deadline that expires April 28, but it threatened no consequences if Tehran disobeys. Rice said yesterday that the latest announcement means the council must do more to enforce its will.

"I do think that the Security Council will need to take into consideration this move by Iran and that it will be time when it reconvenes on this case for strong steps to make certain we maintain the credibility of the international community," she said. White House press secretary Scott McClellan would not discuss those steps, "but you can be assured that it needs to be more than just a presidential statement at this point."

U.S. Ambassador John R. Bolton suggested that the council consider a resolution under Chapter 7 of the U.N. charter making its demand legally binding. "It's clear that by announcing not only the enrichment activity, but by contending they're prepared to go all the way to . . . 50,000 centrifuges, the Iranians are expressing their disdain for the Security Council," he said.

Diplomats from the United States, Europe, Russia and China agreed yesterday to meet about Iran next Tuesday on the sidelines of a scheduled Moscow meeting of nations in the Group of Eight. In the meantime, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan urged all sides "to cool down on the rhetoric and not to escalate."

Analysts said Iranian officials may have made the announcement to respond to the reports on U.S. military options, in effect saying airstrikes would not stop their program because they now possess enough knowledge to reincorporate it.

Bush has dismissed suggestions of airstrikes as "wild speculation" and emphasized diplomacy. If he cannot persuade Russia and China to toughen U.N. pressure on Iran, though, he has few options, analysts said. He could organize economic sanctions with a "coalition of the willing" in tandem with the Europeans. Or he could offer Iran a more substantive deal.

Richard N. Haass, a former top Bush State Department official, proposed a package in which Iran would be allowed "very limited enrichment" subject to inspection and in exchange be given economic benefits and security guarantees. If Iran violated the terms, he said on the Web site of the Council on Foreign Relations, where he is president, the deal would spell out consequences including sanctions and "conceivably military force."

"We've been trying coercive diplomacy and the Iranians have just sent a very clear message: 'Nice try, it just won't work,' " said Clifford Kupchan, an analyst at the Eurasia Group. "The only diplomatic option we haven't tried" is to cut a deal directly. "We might as well try putting everything on the table."

Staff writer Colum Lynch at the United Nations contributed to this report.

© 2006 The Washington Post Company
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