U.N. nuclear watchdog faults Iran's lack of cooperation
A critical IAEA report could spur a new round of sanctions. Iran maintains its enrichment program is peaceful.
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Earlier this month, Iran presented its own document to the five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany that proposes ways to defuse global security tensions, reports Asia Times. While the Bush administration gave a cool response to the "Proposed Package for Constructive Negotiations," Iran may be offering a way out of the diplomatic stalemate by asking existing nuclear powers to improve access to peaceful nuclear technology. A key proposal is to create an international uranium-enrichment facility in Iran. The Asia Times argues that bringing Iran into regional security talks could be a quid pro quo for scaling back its nuclear ambitions.Skip to next paragraph
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Britain's Guardian reports that Iran agreed an action plan last year with the IAEA that was supposed to clarify several outstanding issues and allow inspectors into nuclear facilities. But many of the same questions remain, including the alleged Iranian weapons program that the IAEA report describes as a "serious concern."
Policymakers in Washington and the Middle East aren't ruling out a US military strike against Iran on Bush's watch, TIME magazine reported. While the US Congress is wary of the White House's saber-rattling, Bush probably received encouragement for a harder line during his recent trip to Israel, where Iranian nuclear capacity is widely seen as an existential threat. A senior US adviser on the trip reportedly told Israeli officials that Bush was ready to attack Iran, but faced objections from Ms. Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates. The White House has denied this claim.
Iran's nuclear ambitions are already spurring a preemptive arms race in the Middle East, according to a new report by Britain's International Institute of Strategic Studies, says The Daily Telegraph. The IISS said last week that Iran's neighbors are investing in civil nuclear programs that would allow them to develop bombs in the event of Iran developing nuclear weapons. Since 2006, 13 Middle East countries have unveiled new plans – or overhauled existing ones – to generate electricity from nuclear fuel, an apparent reaction to Iran's decision to resume uranium enrichment after a suspension period.