U.S. Warns Iran Failure to Cooperate with
IAEA Could Lead to More Isolation

By Teri Schultz

BRUSSELS (VOA) — Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns, visiting Brussels for talks with European Union and NATO allies, warned Tehran its failure to cooperate with the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency would lead to Iran’s further isolation. Iran has rejected the latest U.N. Security Council resolution and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says he’ll retaliate by cutting back cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The State Department’s point man on Iran, Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns, suggests Tehran’s reaction to stricter sanctions is another move in the wrong direction.

"That’s an unfortunate response from the Iranian government," he said. "When you’re in a hole, stop digging. They’re in a hole. That was a major repudiation of Iran the other day at the Security Council. Fifteen countries voted sanctions for the second time. Mandatory Chapter 7 sanctions."

"Chapter 7" of the United Nations charter applies when the Security Council determines a threat exists to international security – it requires all members to enforce the measures, which in this case includes an embargo of all Iranian arms exports plus financial sanctions against individuals and entities involved in Iran’s nuclear activities.

Burns says Iran can also expect more penalties from other places if it does not agree to negotiate an end to its nuclear program.

"We’ve seen three major European banks shut down all lending to Iran and with this second Security Council resolution passed on Saturday in New York its going to allow countries to take greater measures to stop business as usual," he said. "So I’m afraid the Iranians are in for a rough ride."

And while the tighter sanctions have not put the Iranian president in a conciliatory mood – at least so far – Burns says the measures may yet have the desired effect on others who could influence the direction Tehran is taking.

"We’re hoping there’s going to be reconsideration by the rational, middle of the road people in Iran that they ought to negotiate – I don’t think President Ahmadinejad given his politics and given his negative mentality is going to be one of those people – but there surely are other people in Iran who would like to see a negotiation," he said.

The man the U.N. has tasked with reaching out to Iran is European Union foreign-policy chief Javier Solana. Solana had an hour-long phone call with Iran’s top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani to explain the new sanctions but also to convey the international community’s strong desire to settle the stand-off with dialogue. Solana’s office says the two agreed to continue their conversation in another call within the next few days.

Related Articles:

** Iran Rejects UN Sanctions, Limits Cooperation With IAEA
** U.S. Grants Visas to Ahmadinejad, Entourage, for UN Appearance
** Iran Develops New Mobile Air Defense System

Iran Rejects UN Sanctions,
Limits Cooperation With IAEA

Credit: VOA
(VOA) Iran says it is limiting cooperation with the United Nations nuclear agency after the Security Council imposed new sanctions.

A government spokesman says Iran will reconsider when its case is returned to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Iranian officials say the additional sanctions are illegal. Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki says the new measures will not force his country to abandon nuclear development.

The sanctions approved ban all Iranian arms exports and freeze the assets abroad of 28 Iranian individuals and institutions believed to have ties to nuclear weapons.

The new sanctions also set a new 60-day deadline for Iran to comply with U.N. demands to stop enriching uranium. Failure to comply could result in further action against Tehran.

Meanwhile, European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana said he hopes to revive negotiations with Iran on its nuclear program.

The United States and its allies accuse Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons. Tehran denies the charge. Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

U.S. Grants Visas to Ahmadinejad,
Entourage, for UN Appearance

By David Gollust

WASHINGTON (VOA) — The Bush administration said it has approved visas for a U.N. visit by Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and a large contingent of other Iranian officials. The Iranian leader has asked to address the U.N. Security Council when it votes on a resolution tightening sanctions on Iran for refusing to stop enriching uranium.

Officials say that as the U.N. host country, the United States does not want to be seen in any way as hindering the travel plans of the Iranian leader.

As such, they say the State Department has approved visas for Mr. Ahmadinejad and more than 70 other Iranians including diplomats, security men and the crew of his aircraft.

The Iranian President has asked to personally exercise his government’s right of rebuttal during a final Security Council session on a resolution increasing sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program.

The five permanent Security Council member countries have already approved a draft of the measure and have circulated it among the council’s 10 elected members, with a vote expected in the next few days.

Iran has given no indication that it intends to bow to international pressure and drop its uranium enrichment effort, which U.S. officials believe is part of a covert nuclear weapons program.

But in a talk with reporters, State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack said the U.N. appearance would be an ideal time for Iran to announce an end to enrichment and a return to negotiations:

"We have host country obligations and we are going to live up to those host-county obligations," said Sean McCormack. "It would also be an important moment President Ahmadinejad in his address to the Security Council to take the opportunity to say we are going to negotiate, we do not seek confrontation, we seek dialogue and to accept the offer of negotiations that has been put forth by the P Five plus One."

The five permanent Security Council member countries and Germany last year offered Iran an array of incentives to end enrichment-related actives and return to negotiations with key European countries on its nuclear program.

The pending new resolution would, incrementally, expand a sanctions package the Security Council approved in December – targeting Iran’s nuclear and missile programs.

Iran contends its nuclear program is entirely peaceful and that it has a right to all elements of a nuclear fuel cycle for a planned network of power reactors.

Spokesman McCormack said the Iranian team accompanying Mr. Ahmadinejad to New York will include Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki and chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larajani.

Elected two years ago, Mr. Ahmadinejad has made two previous U.N. visits, delivering Iran’s General Assembly policy speech last September and in 2005.

U.S. diplomats say they are confident the Security Council will approve the current draft but that the Bush administration is actively lobbying council members with the hope the vote against Iran will be unanimous or close to it.

President Bush spoke by telephone with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, a pivotal Muslim country now on the council. Spokesman McCormack said Secretary Rice called the foreign ministers of Indonesia and Qatar, another council member, over the weekend.

Iran Develops New Mobile Air Defense System

RIA Novosti Photo

TEHRAN (RIA Novosti) — Iran has developed a new mobile air defense system capable of launching simultaneously two ground-to-air missiles, state-run television reported.

In a continuous effort to provide adequate protection to its key military and oil production facilities, the Islamic Republic has been seeking to either upgrade or develop its own air defense systems or to import advanced weapon systems from its traditional suppliers of military equipment, including Russia.

The new Iranian system is designed to destroy multiple air targets in all weather with high precision, the TV report said.

Military experts believe that Iran has been unable so far to construct a nationwide, integrated air defense network, and continues to rely on point defense of key locations with surface-to-air missile batteries.

Iran lacks the low altitude radar coverage, overlapping radar network, command and control integration, sensors, and resistance to jamming and electronic countermeasures needed for an effective air defense net.

Iran reportedly has small numbers of Chinese-made SA-2 Guideline and Russian SA-5 Gammon SAMs. Some sources claim that the country might have as many as 25 SA-6 launchers.

Russia has recently completed the delivery of 29 TOR-M1 (SA-15 Gauntlet) air defense missile systems to Iran under a $700 million contract signed at the end of 2005.