- Iran to answer IAEA’s questions following intelligence allegations
- P5 + Germany met in London to discuss new incentives
- Iranian proposal on ending nuclear deadlock being seriously considered by Russia
- Inside Iran’s Natanz nuclear plant
- NATO and E.U. criticized says Iran’s nuclear programme
- Iranians vote in second stage of parliamentary elections
IAEA and Iranian officials are to meet again later this month to discuss the IAEA’s intelligence evidence of Iran’s past nuclear weapon programme. This is the first time Iran has agreed to discuss the allegations in detail, rather than just denying them, and has been hailed as a “milestone” by IAEA director Mohammed ElBaradei. He is due to release his next quarterly report on Iran’s nuclear programme by the end of the month.
The P5+1 met in London last Friday to discuss strengthening the incentives package necessary to convince the Irans to suspend their enrichment programme. On the eve of the meeting, US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice expressed her obvious frustration with the focus and advocated more intense enforcement of Security Council resolutions rather than an incentives package: “The Iranians haven’t shown any interest… I don’t care what’s been put before them… in doing what they need to do, which is to suspend enrichment and reprocessing… Nothing has been able so far to change the fundamental problem … It’s Iran that’s the problem…. We’ve got to intensify our efforts on the UN Security Council resolutions themselves.” However, UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband came out of the meeting claiming the group had reached agreement on an enhanced package of incentives building upon the offer made in June 2006. Iran responded that it was not about to give up its rights and would not suspend enrichment.
In stark contrast, the Russians are taking seriously an Iranian proposal about to break the international deadlock. Valentin Sobolev, acting secretary of Russia’s National Security Council, met with top Iranian nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili last week and is expected to meet President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki before leaving Iran on Wednesday. No details of the Iranian proposal have yet been made pubic.
April 8th, President Ahmadinejad visited Natanz with a number of cabinet members including the Defence Minister. Photos from the visit were later released by the Iranian government . The New York Times has chronicled and analyzed the photos, their work can be found here. Much of the piece was based on the blog arms control wonk. The images have been seen as crucial evidence of Iran’s progress in cracking the enrichment technology.
NATO’s Secretary-General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, has spoken out against Iran’s nuclear programme, saying “Iran’s pursuit of uranium enrichment capability in violation of its UN Security Council obligations is a serious concern not just for Iran’s neighbors but for the entire international community”. EU and Iranian delegations have been clashing at the NPT Preparatory Committee in Geneva over the nuclear programme.
Results of the second round of voting in Iran’s Parliamentary elections, held on Friday April 15th, have yet to be announced. This round was to decide 82 of the 290 parliamentary seats.
Stories and Links
US military criticizes Iran but says no strike plan, Reuters, April 30
Iran-Europe gas deals anger Washington, Financial Times, April 30
Azerbaijani frees Russian equipment for Bushehr nuclear plant, Tehran Times, May 4
Iran complains to UN about Clinton comment, Reuters, April 30, 2008
Israeli President takes swipe at Iran’s nuclear program, The Washington Post, April 30
Bush says Syria nuclear disclosure intended to prod North Korea and Iran, NY Times, April 30
Iran ends oil transactions in US dollars, CBS News, April 30
Putin promises Iran continuity in relations, The Washington Post, April 30
Gates says 2nd carrier in Gulf is reminder to Iran, Associated Press, April 29
Comments, editorial and analysis
Hawkish engagement needed with Iran?, Brookings Institution, May 4
Shirin Ebadi: ‘Don’t Attack Iran’, by Robert Dreyfuss, The Nation, April 29, 2008
Time for a Diplomatic Surge, Right Web, April 29