Immediate Iraninan counter.
Iran yesterday threatened to halt snap UN inspections of its nuclear sites and resume uranium enrichment if it is reported to the Security Council as agreed by the council’s five permanent members.
In an angry response to the move by Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States in the early hours of yesterday, Iran also warned it would hit back in the region if put under severe international pressure.
The agreement by the five permanent members of the Security Council to call for the IAEA to refer Iran to the full council, where it could face sanctions, was hailed by Tony Blair.
“I hope it’s sending a message that the international community is united,” the Prime Minister said.
But Ali Larijani, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, responded angrily, amid signs that Russia and China are stalling over the issue.
He said: “We consider any referral or report of Iran to the Security Council as the end of diplomacy. If these countries use all their means … to put pressure on Iran, Iran will use its capacity in the region.”
It was not clear what regional capacities he meant. Analysts and diplomats say Iran, with its links to Islamist parties and militants, has the means to create trouble for the West in Iraq, Lebanon, the Palestinian territories and elsewhere.
You know, this is a rather tiring dance.
Tucked into the story is this little tidbit.
It also emerged yesterday that Iran has given the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) a sensitive document that appears linked to nuclear warhead designs in a show of apparent openness designed to stave off being reported to the Security Council.
Diplomats said the one and a half page document, which described how to cast fissile uranium into the hemispherical shape of warheads, was given to IAEA inspectors last week.
This is good news, assuming that Iran’s thirst for thermonuclear warfare technology took precedent over their acquiring the copying machine.