The US government has frozen the assets of two Iranian companies linked to the Islamic republic’s nuclear drive, officials said.
The Treasury Department said the duo — Novin Energy Co and Mesbah Energy Co — were guilty of fostering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
Its action came a day after Iran informed the International Atomic Energy Agency that it plans on Jan 9 to resume research and development into its ‘peaceful nuclear energy programme’.
The US and EU have demanded that Iran refrain from all nuclear enrichment activities.
It’s just a start, but there’s no point in waiting for oft-teased progress from Euro-Iranian negotiations and certainly no need to wait for the United Nations Security Council to actually stir in further inaction.
Iran vowed Wednesday to proceed with a plan to restart nuclear research next week, though the government has yet to explain to the United Nations’ nuclear monitoring agency what activities it intends to carry out.
Ali Larijani, the senior official in charge of nuclear issues, was quoted on Iranian state television on Wednesday as saying the decision to resume nuclear research was “nonnegotiable.”
Responding to criticism that the decision would violate Iran’s formal agreement with Europe to suspend all uranium conversion and enrichment activities, he said: “Research has its own definition. It is not related to industrial production. Hence, it was never part of the negotiations.”
Late Tuesday, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took a similar hard line. “We will not take a step back on our path,” he was quoted by state television as saying.
If I were suddenly to find myself on the ground in Iran, I’d be keeping my head up and my eyes on the sky. Hey, I’m just pondering the possibilities.