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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Iran : Washington tente de rallier l’ONU

by Hassane Zerrouky

Iran: Washington Tries to Rally the United Nations

Translated Tuesday 5 September 2006, by Henry Crapo

Nuclear energy: The Iranian government, which says it is open to negotiation, while at the same time reaffirming its intention not to give in to international pressures, is, on its side, maneuvering to divide the great powers.

The report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), to be submitted to the Security Council of the United Nations, will be a simple formality. It will observe, many analysts believe, that Iran refuses to suspend its program of uranium enrichment, and that therefore Iran is not in conformity with Resolution 1696, which orders Iran to terminate this process, under threat of sanctions.

The resolution in question envisages a regime of graduated political and economic sanctions, these to be the subject of later resolutions. At the present time, the members of the Security Council are divided as to the course to take. Although they voted for Resolution 1696, Russia and China, to judge by their recent declarations, are a priori not very enthusiastic about sanctions. On the other hand, suspecting that Iran is betting on a division among the members of the Security Council, Washington, which is counting on a United Nations agreement in September, has dispatched their number three officer of the State Department, Nicolas Burns, to convince Russia and China not to diverge from the resolution they have passed.

Interviewed on CNN, he expressed optimism concerning his chances to arrange an agreement with China and Russia. "I think", he said, "that the coalition will stay solid. The Iranians should keep this in mind in making their calculations." The beginning of this coming week, he will meet with representatives of the G5 +1 (U.S., Russia, China, France, UK, plus Germany) in order to "discuss the sanctions to be imposed on Tehran". said Sean McCormack, State Department spokesman.

The Iranian regime maintains its position

On the Iranian side, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared on Wednesday that "Everyone knows that the Iranian people will never yield an inch to intimidation, and will never accept to be deprived of its rights." He then called on the United Nations to distance itself from the United States position, and to abstain from imposing sanctions. This firmness, without a doubt intended for domestic consumption, seems to diverge from messages delivered to the United Nations, which were intended to show the willingness of Iran to negotiate.

"We are sure of the peaceful character of our nuclear program", declared the Iranian vice-minister of foreign affairs, Abbas Araghchi, at the end of his visit to Japan. "Iran is ready at any moment to begin a creative cooperation. When there is a good opportunity to collaborate, there is no need for confrontation," declared Mr. Mohammad Nahavandian, under-secretary of the Iranian Supreme Council for National Security. Whatever be the case, the count-down has begun, and no one is in a position to know to what this crisis, now in its beginnings, will lead.

In fact, not knowing whether the Iranian regime is really in a position to be able to build nuclear weapons, the fact that it does not exhibit much transparency in the handling of this portfolio, taken together with the populist and anti-Israeli discourse of the head of state, works not only in the disfavor of the Iranians, but makes credible all hypotheses. For the moment, one thing is sure: the threats by Washington reinforce the hard-liners in the Iranian regime, ready to stand up against any opposition, and places the Iranian democrats in a difficult posture. They risk being taken for traitors, and are thus compelled to crouch down and remain silent.

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