Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Iran buys itself some more time

Iran top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani hand-delivered Iran's response to the West's package of incentives aimed at persuading it to suspend enrichment. He gave the reply to ambassadors from Britain, China, Russia, France, Germany and Switzerland, state-run television said, without disclosing details. You'll notice that Iran is still not directly talking to the Great Satan, namely the US.

"Iran is prepared as of Aug. 23 to enter serious negotiations" state-run television quoted Larijani as telling the envoys.

Iran has apparently offered a "new formula" as its formal response to the Western incentive package.

"Iran has provided a comprehensive response to everything said in the Western package. In addition, Iran, in its formal response, has asked some questions to be answered," one official said, without elaborating.

In other words, more time-wasting bolshoi.

Iran's leaders have all repeatedly said that they are not going to stop nuclear enrichment, no matter what. What more is there to discuss?

Yesterday, Iran refused to allow UN IAEA inspectors examine the underground nuclear site at Natanz. One of my sources said that Natanz has recently been outfitted with all new centrifuges, which is why Iran didn't want IAEA inspectors roaming around. Iran also announced that its Arak heavy water plant would soon be operational. Not to mention the secret Iranian nuclear site at Neyshabour.

As I reported here Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declared in no uncertain terms that Tehran will continue to pursue its nuclear ambitions.

Bolton's response? "We will study the Iranian response and if it is not satisfactory are prepared to move on elements of a UN resolution very quickly."

I wouldn't bet on it, Mr. Ambassador.

Sooner or later, we are going to have to face the fact that if decisive action is gong to be taken, it is going to be taken outside the UN.

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