Iran to respond today to UN regarding nuclear program; compliance unlikely
Iran is scheduled to present an official response on Tuesday to demands of the United Nations Security Council that is cease work on its controversial nuclear program, which Tehran maintains is for energy purposes.
Iran was offered until August 31 a choice to accept a trade and commercial nuclear benefits proposal or face sanctions, according to Bloomberg News. Ali Larijani, Iran's nuclear negotiator, announced in response that the Iranian government would respond to the proposal today. Most believe that Iran will reject demands to halt the program, but offer instead an alternative plan to avoid facing sanctions.
Speaking of Tehran's uranium enrichment program, Iranian Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stated on Monday that Iran ``has made up its mind on the nuclear program and other issues it is faced with, and with God's help and with patience, will continue on its path with strength,'' reported to the Iranian Student News Agency.
On Monday, Iran turned away UN inspectors wanting to examine its Natanz nuclear facility.
The rejection of the UN proposal will likely raise odds that the United States will push for sanctions against Iran. The US and others calling for sanctions have maintained that Iran's nuclear program is an attempt on its part to attain nuclear weapons.
Both Russia and China, on the other hand, have expressed reluctance to impose such sanctions on Iran, with which they are currently working on major energy programs. Russia is aiding Iran to build a nuclear power plant in the town of Bushehr, while China was recently awarded a $2.76 billion contract to increase Iran's oil refinery capacity.
"One of the things I will continue to remind our friends and allies is the danger of a nuclear-armed Iran,'' said US President George W. Bush on Monday.
"There must be consequences if people thumb their nose at the United Nations Security Council,'' Bush added.
Some believe that the US case for sanctions against Iran is strengthened as a result of its support to Hezbollah in the conflict between Israel in Lebanon, while US Undersecretary for Political Affairs, Nicholas Burns, stressed that such ties underscore the destabilizing power Iran has in the Middle East.
Meanwhile, some Iranian officials have reportedly suggested that Tuesday's response to the nuclear incentives offer may leave open the possibility of a future accord.
Fars News reported that the Deputy Head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, Mohammad Saeedi, stated that Iran's response will be "very comprehensive and give a suitable opportunity for the West to solve the nuclear dossier through negotiations.''