West raises stakes over Iran nuclear programme

By Paul Taylor
September 25, 2009

big-3President Obama and the leaders of France and Britain have deliberately raised the stakes in the confrontation over Iran’s nuclear programme by dramatising the disclosure that it is building a second uranium enrichment plant. Their shoulder-to-shoulder statements of resolve, less than a week before Iran opens talks with six major powers in Geneva, raised more questions than they answer.

It turns out that the United States has known for a long time (how long?) that Iran had been building the still incomplete plant near Qom. Did it share that intelligence with the U.N. nuclear watchdog, and if not, why not? Why did it wait until now, in the middle of a G20 summit in Pittsburgh, to make the announcement — after Iran had notified the International Atomic Energy Authority of the plant’s existence on Monday, after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had delivered a defiant speech to the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday and after the Security Council had adopted a unanimous resolution calling for an end to the spread of nuclear weapons on Thursday?

Is this all part of Obama’s choreography to  build international pressure on Iran by getting Russia, in return for the dropping of plans to put a U.S. missile shield in Poland the Czech Republic, to threaten more sanctions against Tehran? A U.S. official says Obama shared the intelligence with Russian President Dimitry Medvedev at the United Nations this week and China had only just been informed. Did Obama try and fail to get Medvedev and Chinese President Hu Jintao — both in Pittsburgh — to join the three Western leaders on the podium? Or was his hand forced on timing by the fact that the New York Times had got wind of the Iranian nuclear plant and was set to publish the news on Friday?

The division of labour between Obama, Sarkozy and Brown was striking. The U.S. president sounded stern but his tone was measured. He stressed his commitment to dialogue and negotiation with Iran and to Tehran’s right to peaceful nuclear energy. He did not mention sanctions, let alone the possibility of military action. It fell to the Europeans to inject a tone of menace.

Sarkozy accused Iran of defying the international community and taking the world on a dangerous path, and said that unless Tehran changed course by December, there would be tougher sanctions. Brown charged the Islamic Republic with deception and said the international community had no choice but “to draw a line in the sand”, and that he did not rule out anything although sanctions were the preferred route. 

Will the latest disclosure on what Iran insists is a peaceful nuclear programme persuade Russia to renounce the sale of advanced S-300 anti-aircraft missiles to Tehran? Will it persuade China, which reaffirmed its scepticism about more sanctions this week and has begun supplying gasoline to Iran, to change its mind? The West sees Iran’s dependency on imported fuel as a key vulnerability.

Friday’s dramatic announcement was a clear effort to appeal to the world court of public opinion and maximise pressure on Tehran before the Oct. 1 talks, but there is no sign that the Islamic Republic’s leaders are even considering yielding on their nuclear ambitions. On the contrary, they seem convinced that the nuclear standoff will enable them to patch over deep internal divisions over the disputed June presidential election by playing the patriotic card.


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FACT: Under the terms of Iran’s safeguards agreement with the IAEA, Iran is only required to inform the IAEA of the existence of a nuclear facility 180-days prior to the introduction of nuclear material into the facility, and not while it is merely under construction. In other words, Iran may be perfectly within its right NOT to have declared the facility earlier. See http://tinyurl.com/ycenhgd

Posted by hass | Report as abusive

If I remember correctly we already know about this planet.. So, this isn’t really new news..

Posted by Zang | Report as abusive

As a civilian, I only know that the dangerous games and manipulation played by Iran, inside their own country and outside, shows the lack of RESPECT for all the others who are not radicals. So all of us who do not think like them. Also I think that using a “truth ….like manipulating the information by the Iran gov.about the nuclear plant” is other way of using a truth for bad purposes and that is worse that a lie. An we the rest of the world have to see how this country not only commit crimes against their own people, we the world have to see how they lie and use the law to continue doing what they whant despite the risks of all of us the rest of th world. In adition we the world, have to see how day by day is closer the day of more nuclear enrichment by these country. I think it is enough… on time to do something…not to wait o say sorry to the future family´s victims….must better cut know all confusion….So IRAN UST LEAVE THE MANIPULATION AND SHOW THEIR POLITICS…AS THEY DEMAND FROM ALL OF US OFTHE WORLD.

Posted by Maria | Report as abusive

The longitude and latitude of the nuke site on Google Earth is: Lat: N34 degrees, 53′ 15.36″, Longitude: E50 degrees 59′ 38.40″. You can see it from space quite easily.

Posted by shawn watson | Report as abusive

The West’s “Dramatising” of the event isn’t exactly the right word. More like “Hyping”. Iran is living up to its obligations under the terms of its safeguards agreement with the IAEA. The US is attempting to propagandize that as Iran “admitting” to something illegal. It is a blatantly transparent and vacuous ploy. It is exactly this sort of thing that proves to the Iranians that they can’t trust the West to negotiate with them.

Posted by hass | Report as abusive

It looks like the Iran question is reaching its final stage.

Who would have thought that a “civilian” enrichment center, being built in a reinforced underground facility, would create suspicion?

Soon there will be further economic sanctions restricting Iran, softening it up and weakening it. Then if it refuses to comply with Western demands, it will be broken by military force.

If America decides to bomb Iran to bits, there is little Iran can do to stop it. A civilian based army can’t shoot missiles out of the sky. If America bombs all Iran’s military and infrastructure, there will be no reason to invade Iran.

What will Iran do? Launch missiles at Israel? Try and block the Gulf straits? All this will do is turn the world against it further. And it certainly will not stop the American missiles from destroying their nation.

Iran can either capitulate diplomatically, or surrender through military force. But either way, it will be humiliated. Such is the price for not being a good neighbour in the global community.

Posted by Anon | Report as abusive

[...] about for years is to allow inspectors in to view the site. Come again, you mean we already knew? Commentaries

Cheney (& Bush) was right.

He said N. Korea & Iran would not give up their Nukes (Obama’s diplomacy & all).

He saw them for exactly what they were – as Obama comes around to the Bush Administration’s policies on so many fronts:::: Not yanking troops from Iraq, Not closing Gitmo overnight, continuing Renditions, Predator Missile Strikes etc., etc., etc.(as N. Korea & Iran “Spit” in his face).

–Welcome to the Real World Libbies — after your hangover from Drinking the Kool-Aid !!

Posted by Mr Reality | Report as abusive

At the end of the day, there is still the million dollar question on everyone’s lips:

“If Iran wants to be able to launch ballistic missiles during a US attack, will it need to shut off it’s anti-air defence systems?”

The anticipation is breathtaking.

Posted by Hahaha | Report as abusive

Obama and his Zionist buddies want war, plain and simple. They are making a big deal about those anti-Holocaust comments to turn world opinion against Iran so it won’t look so bad when they attack. The New World Order people are doing a good job. You can’t have a New World Order with all these little petty dictators and Roman-emperor wannabes running around flexing their muscles. After Iran, then North Korea.

Posted by Mufaso | Report as abusive

Of course Iran would build this facility in a reinforced underground bunker, considering how many times we’ve threatened to bomb them. That makes perfect sense is not proof of a nuclear weapons program in Iran. In fact, considering that the West (Particularly the US, UK, Germany and France) were directly complicit in supporting Saddam’s use of chemical weapons against Iran, resulting in the deaths of over 60,000 Iranians (not to mention the Iraqi kurds that were gassed thanks to the American helicopters provided to Saddam) then it is a wonder that the Iranians have sworn off building nukes and have offered to open their nuclear program to multinational participation.

Posted by time | Report as abusive

Russia’s support of the west (http://tinyurl.com/yb22oh7) would prove extremely helpful, China would most likely follow with sanctions.

Posted by Bullet | Report as abusive

World opinion has already turned against Iran. Obama’s rhetoric is simply to convince Russia to assist, which then isolates China.

With the two remaining veto powers on the West’s side, the sanction and isolation of Iran can begin proper. The stratagy begun by Bush, will be ended by Obama. And the West wins again.

Posted by Hmmmm | Report as abusive

If President Obama invades Iran, our Economy will crash. Iran is openly challenging The United States to bring it on. This aint the appropriate time to invade Iran. I hope Obama does not do a Bush, he is much more sensible.
And of course, It needs powerful America to tell Islamic Nations what to do

Everyday Iranian government is attributed as ‘hardliner’, there is a pity for Iranians, etc. Why we do not say the same for more oppressive regimes in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, etc? Free and independent press, hm…

Posted by Dusan G. | Report as abusive

Iran should not arouse concern. Georgia is a flashpoint in Russia’s tense relations with the West. The Bible says: “At the appointed time [the king of the north = Russia] will return and come into the south, but it will not be as the former [1921] or as the latter [2008]. For shall come against him the dwellers of coastlands of Kittim [the West], and he will be humbled, and will return.” (Daniel 11:29,30a) What logical conclusions can be drawn from this forecast? Much suggests that the present economic crisis will deepen, making it possible for Russia to regain the influence, which it lost after the break-up of the Soviet Union. In relationship to this, unavoidable will be the split or even a complete break-up of the European Union and NATO. After that, Russia will come somewhere into the south. Many indicate that this might be Georgia. When this happens, the West will come against Russia. Then Iran will be humbled also. “But ships will come from the direction of Kittim, troubling Asshur [Russia] and troubling Eber [inhabiting on the other side the Euphrates].” (Numbers 24:24a, BBE)

At that time, peace will be taken from the earth and the “great sword” – nuclear sword – will be used. (Revelation 6:4) However, it will be neither the great tribulation nor “the end of the world” (Armageddon). As Jesus foretold, that will be “the beginning of birth pains”. (Mathew 24:7,8)

Posted by Ewiak Ryszard | Report as abusive