Paris, 17 Jan. (IPS) As the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council decided on Monday 16 Jan. 2006 in London to “agree to disagree” over the question of sending the Iranian controversial nuclear issue to the Security Council for possible sanctions, with an unusual diplomatic brinkmanship, the Iranians are bringing the international community into a trap they have carefully laid down: That of resuming all nuclear activities and blaming this to the Europeans and the Americans, according to well-informed Iranian political analyst.
“If we are referred to the United Nations Security Council, the Government has no other choice but ending all engagements it concluded concerning the voluntary suspension of its nuclear activities, as approved by the Majles (Iranian Parliament)”, Foreign Affairs Minister Manouchehr Mottaki announced on Thursday 12 January 2006.
If we are referred to the Security Council, we have no other choice but ending all engagements about suspension of nuclear activities".
He was referring to undertakings made by Iran on October 2003 to Britain, France and Germany to suspend all nuclear activities on a voluntarily basis.
The talks came to a halt on August last year after Mr. Mahmoud Ahmadi Nezhad, a devout Shi’a Muslim and former Revolutionary Guards officer who was the Mayor of Tehran, became President and immediately started activities at the Uranium Conversion Facility situated near the central and historic city of Esfahan.
But frothy eight hours later, Tehran put a velvet glove on its iron fist. In a surprising move, the Foreign Affairs Ministry “invited” the European Troika to cool down and calmly come back to negotiation table, reiterating that doing nuclear research and development has nothing with enriching uranium which, like “many other process, remains suspended”.
“The best way to solve the nuclear issue of Iran is discussion, not a language of force and pressures. Anyway, we are not afraid of the United Nations, besides that we have devised our response to such a possibility. The main question is that Iran is given its natural rights and the Europeans to see their worries removed”, hammered out Hamid Reza Asefi, the official spokesman of the Foreign Affairs Ministry on Sunday 15 January.
Analysts said the Iranian soft attitude must have been the result of behind the scene warnings from the more moderate wing of the Iranian clerical-led leadership and possible advises from Moscow to deescalate the growing tension between Tehran and the international community.
“The doors to negotiations are again half open. Tehran expects the Troika call off the Extraordinary meeting of the IAEA’s directors and setting a date for meeting the Iranians again”, one Iranian analyst speculated in the absence of reaction from Berlin, London and Paris.
“"The Islamic Republic of Iran has predicted necessary strategies and has no concerns in this regard, Asefi told journalists during his weekly press briefing, adding, "We should not see issues in black and white. Talks with Russia, China, Europe, the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) should be continued and judgment and evaluation should be then made”, Asefi told journalists during his weekly press briefing, adding that “Iran believes the two sides can find a solution through negotiations”.
“The election of Mr. Ahmadi Nezhad responded to the new policies decided by the most top ranking decision makers in Tehran, based on a 180 degree departure from the policy of détente followed by the previous government of the moderate Hojjatoleslalm Mohammad Khatami. The new policy is based on a return to the sources of the Islamic Revolution of 1979, on the leadership of the Middle East and the Muslims and internationally on provocation and confrontation”, the source told Asian Times Online during an off the record conversation.
Hence, more crackdown on the limited social, cultural freedoms and on the press and expression, ban of Western music, movies with the so-called feminist, liberal or secular tendencies, tight press censorship; escalation of verbal attacks on Israel, the State that Ahmadi Nezhad wowed to wipe off the map of the world and then negated the Holocaust, all aimed at uniting the Muslims, mostly the radical forces of the Arab world in anti Israeli crusade and internationally, a deliberate provocation over Iran’s nuclear activities.
“Unfortunately, the structure governing the domestic and foreign policies of the State is that it is stranger to the concept of détente. It enters the arena determined to win, but when faced with difficulties and obstacles, it prefers and defeat to retreat and compromise, for such a principle is considered as a red line. Reading Iranian political literature proves this claim. Therefore, one can conclude that with or without the Security Council, the nuclear question would lead to anywhere except a friendly issue”, said Mr. Abbas Abdi, a journalist and political analyst who spent years in prison after the polling company he was a director found out that more than seventy per cent of Iranians favour resuming relations with the United States.
Our source agrees and adds: “This Government considers the idea of compromise and retreat as defeats and since the President considers himself as being chosen by Mehdi, or the hidden imam, therefore the Islamic Republic can not be defeated. Defeat is a red line, hence the determination of going ahead with nuclear issue”, he stressed.
“The warning from Tehran that sending Iranian nuclear file to the UN would mean the immediate termination of all Iranian engagements is both part of the new policy and the trap the Iranian have placed in front of the Europeans and the international community”, the source outlined.
Iranian’s response came immediately after EU3 foreign affairs ministers of decided in Berlin on Friday 13 January 2006 to call an emergency meeting of the Board of Directors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) with the aim to refer the controversial dossier of Iranian nuclear activities to the United Nations Security Council for possible sanctions against Tehran.
"The talks with Iran are at a dead end", Germany's Frank-Walter Steinmeier told a news conference held after the meeting, at which participated also the EU’s Foreign and Security Affairs minister Xavier Solana.
The Troika’s dramatic action was in response to the decision of the Islamic Republic to resume nuclear Research and Development activities at the central city of Natanz, an activity that according to IAEA’s Director Mohammad ElBarade’i is "small-scale" enrichment of uranium.
“The best way to solve the nuclear issue of Iran is discussion. Anyway, we are not afraid of the United Nations".
Started on Tuesday despite all warnings from the EU3 and even Russia, Natanz is the second nuclear centre after Uranium Conversion Facility near the historic city of Esfahan where IAEA seals were broken by the Iranians.
“Research and Development has nothing to do with enriching uranium, which we keep suspended. Actually, it should not have been suspended”, Mr. Mottaki observed, calling on the Europeans to remain “calm and avoid escalation”.
In Washington, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had accused Tehran of a "deliberate escalation" of the dispute and said the Security Council should "call for the Iranian regime to step away from its nuclear weapons ambitions".
In a telephone conversation with here three European counterparts, she also informed them that Moscow has decided not to oppose the IAEA’s Board in case the majority of the 35 directors decided to refer Iran’s nuclear case to the UN for possible sanctions.
Earlier, Mr. Serguei Lavrov, Russia’s Foreign Affairs Minister had expressed concern at the resumption of activities at Natanz, saying this would increase the suspicions that Iran is after the nuclear weapon.
The joint statement by Frank Walter Steinmeier, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and France's Foreign Affairs Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy cited Iran's "documented record of concealment and deception". The Islamic republic "seems intent on turning its back on better relations with the international community", it added.
It said more than two years of talks with Iran had reached "an impasse" as Tehran had failed to allay concerns over the nature of its programme.
The Islamic republic "seems intent on turning its back on better relations with the international community," it said.
Tehran's decision to restart enrichment activity was "a clear rejection" of the negotiations process and "constitutes a further challenge to the authority of the IAEA and international community", the statement added.
"What we want to do is use the authority and weight of the Security Council to bring home to Iran the importance of abiding by the resolution of the IAEA," the official said.
But Iran has repeated that it is not afraid of the Security Council. "We should not be worried", Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli, Senior Acting and Deputy to Mr. Ali Larijani, the Secretary of Iran’s Supreme Council on National Security who is also the Chief of Iran's new team of nuclear negotiators, said, adding: "It is not what we want, but if that's the case ... our officials must plan their policy to put on a strong show of diplomacy and make our case".
In fact, Iran is banking that in case the UN decides on a strong sanction, Russia or China would use their rights of veto, as Moscow is building Iran’s first nuclear-powered electricity plant in the Persian port of Bushehr on the Persian Gulf and is the major supplier of arms to the Islamic Republic and China is about to sign a 100 billion US Dollars deal for importing oil from Iran for the next 30 years
Over the last two years, Russia sold, mostly secretly, over one billion USD worth modern weapons to the Islamic Republic, including TOR M1 and S-300PMU, considered by Western military experts as “simply a highly effective fast SAM (surface-to-air missile) that is very hard to jam and stop" stated Richard Fisher, a senior fellow at the Jamestown Foundation quoted by NewsMax.com
While the West is not still sure of what action to take at the UN about Iran, Mr. Ahmadi Nezhad assured on Thursday the people that Iran would soon reach the full circle of nuclear technology for peaceful aims. “We then shall demonstrate the world that we are not after the nuclear weapon, which is forbidden by our religion and ethics”, he stressed.
In advance of any possible sanctions by the Security Council and aware of the energy hungry market, Tehran has also warned that in such a situation, it might stop exporting its oil.
Actually, oil prices climbed to a three-month high as mounting tension over Iran stoked fears of supply disruption from the world's fourth biggest crude exporter, though they later pulled back, Reuters reported.
“Send one missile over Iran and you have guaranteed the life of this regime for another 50 years”, the source pointed out, referring to any possibility of military option on Iran as envisaged in Washington and adds: “receiving a missile is part of the new policy and besides, don’t forget that this country has received many, many missiles during its eight years of war against Iraq”.
However, the main worry, at this time, is the situation in Syria. That’s why immediately after the “defection” of Abdol Halim Khaddam, Syria’s former second in command after Hafez el Assad, Tehran dispatched Hojjatoleslam Mohammad Hasan Akhtari to Damascus, where he had served for eight years.
Khaddam was Syria’s man in relation with Iran. He enjoyed personal, friendly relations with most high-ranking Iranian officials including former president Ayatollah Ali AkbarHashemi Rafsanjani, former foreign affairs minister Dr. Ali Akbar Velayati and many others. He was among the few foreign dignitaries Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i would meet. After his first mission in Syria, Akhtari became a deputy to Velayati, who is the real foreign affairs minister.
The problem for the Iranians is that what they should do in case Bashar bows down to American-French pressures, or if Khaddam stages a coup?
Those are things Akhtari has to find out. Besides, there is the most important question of Lebanese Hezbollah – the child of the Islamic Republic -- in case of a dramatic change in Damascus, which means the loss of a strategic friend and ally in the region.
“We are entering a very dangerous period of turbulence where the West has to be determined on whatever course of action it takes regarding Iran”, the source concluded. ENDS IRAN NUCLEAR 17106