Thursday, October 20, 2005

Iran to escape UN referral over nuclear plans-diplomats

Reuters reports from Berlin:

The International Atomic Energy Agency will most likely not refer Iran to the U.N. Security Council when the U.N. agency's board meets next month despite fears Tehran is seeking nuclear weapons, diplomats said.

European and U.S. officials said at the time the IAEA board would refer Iran to the Security Council when it meets in November if Tehran continued to process uranium at a plant at Isfahan, which was mothballed until August under the Paris Agreement
last year with France, Britain and Germany.

Tehran has so far refused to reinstate the suspension of sensitive nuclear work, which was the conerstone of the Paris Agreement, but the European Union's three biggest powers have decided not to press for a Council referral at this time.

"The approach is not to refer Iran to the Security Council at the moment," an official from one of the so-called EU3 countries told Reuters. "The idea is not to provoke Iran."

One of the reasons for the decision to back off from a Security Council referral next month is that Tehran has improved cooperation with agency inspectors since the IAEA passed its resolution.

After a recent trip to Tehran, the IAEA's chief safeguards inspector, Olli Heinonen, reported "his visit was positive and access was easier," a Western diplomat said. The Iranians handed over some long overdue documents and allowed the agency to interview an Iranian official, he added. "At the moment we have the feeling that the report we will get (from the IAEA on Iran) in November will not be negative," the diplomat said, adding that the intense international pressure on Iran might be beginning to yield positive results...
I, as an Iranian who's seen more than enough of mullahs' shenanigans, would flat-out reject the diplomat's theory for such lame reasons. However, there seems to be another deciding factor here that could very well play into the twists and turns of Iran's nuclear case.

As it's been frequently reported in the past couple of weeks, there seems to be a growing tug-of-war within the conservative camp of Islamic Republic of Iran between those who run Iranian president Mahmoud Ahamdinejad--including his mentor Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi-- and those on the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's side who seem to have been alerted to the growing threat that is loosening their power grip. The nuclear case falls right in the middle of this power struggle, where the former side is constantly seeking confrontation with the united States, while the latter--having realized the gravity of the US threats-- is trying to buy some more time and diffuse the tension at least for now.

Khamenei's recent surprising move of delegating more powers to Rafsanjani could be his desperate attempt at curbing both domestic and the international threats. Within this context, the diplomat's opinon could make sense, though it remains to be seen how the Bush administration would react if the European Troika back off from their earlier threat of pressing for Iran's referral to the Security Council in the November session of IAEA.