Iran nuclear impasse continues

Friday, April 28, 2006

Map of Iran

The Iranian supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, warned the United States against any attack on his country saying "The Americans should know that if they launch an assault against Islamic Iran, their interests in every possible part of the world will be harmed." Earlier this week Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that Iran was ready to begin offering nuclear technology to developing countries.

Speaking at a rally in North-West Iran this Thursday, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying "Those who want to prevent Iranians from obtaining their right, should know that we do not give a damn about such resolutions."

Iran says that its nuclear program is meant for producing energy and that it has a right under Article IV of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to enrich fuel for that purpose. The President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stated,"[Iran] won't back down one iota". The US has called on Iran to stop its enrichment work and accuses Iran of trying to build a nuclear bomb. The US "is leaving all options on the table" not excluding military strikes with nuclear weapons or with conventional weapons in the eventuality of sanctions being ineffective. Iranian leaders have made strong statements against possible sanctions or military action against their country. The Ayatollah Khamenei said, "The Iranian nation will give a double response to any strike." Tehran has vowed to respond against US targets worldwide in the case of a US led attack against Iran.

According to some claims, the US has already started attacking Iran. On April 18, Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) wrote a letter to George W. Bush requesting information about claims that the US has already sent US covert operatives and/or retrained ex-members of MEK and the Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan (PEJAK, associated with the PKK) into Iranian territory in order to provoke existing ethnic tensions by incidents of violence. MEK and PKK are classified by the U.S. State Department and by the Council of the European Union as terrorist organizations.

The UN Security Council has called on Iran to suspend its enrichment work by Friday and permit additional inspections of its nuclear programme. Iran has rejected the demands. The IAEA is scheduled to report on Iran's compliance of the Security Council resolution on Friday.

A 90 minute meeting between Gholam Reza Aghazadeh, the president of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran and Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the IAEA provided no breakthrough and no new proposals were made, although Aghazadeh's deputy Mohammed Saidi said the talks were "encouraging."

Speaking Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice spoke in Vienna at a meeting of NATO foreign ministers over Iran's nuclear program. "The United States believes ... that in order to be credible the Security Council of course has to act," to reporters. Condoleezza Rice also said that it was "highly unlikely" Tehran would comply with the US's demands and that the UN "cannot have its word and its will simply ignored by a member state." Further, Rice stated that "I look forward to discussing this with my colleagues and to I and others making that case, and I would certainly hope the Security Council is prepared to take some action."

The German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said, "We expect [Iran] to meet international standards and ... to allay world suspicions that its civil nuclear operations are being used to develop a possible weapons program."

Russia and China have called for negotiations to resolve the issue with President Vladimir Putin saying that the IAEA must retain the lead in the process.

Widespread resentment of western influence on past Iranian internal affairs, such as Operation Ajax which removed the democratically elected prime minister of Iran in 1953, has called some experts to bring into question the possibility of a coalition of NATO or U.S. led forces against Iran. The likelihood of any preventive strike against Iran is uncertain, apart from the claims that US troops and or proxy troops have already started small scale attacks. With a large young population increasingly pro-western, there are fears that any strike against Iran could damage any democratic movement as the population as a whole resents pro-Western influence in its internal affairs.

Iran has nearly four times the land area of Iraq. Iran's military is estimated to 768,000/350,000 active/reserve military troops and the paramilitary Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps include 11,000,000 troops.