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US acts tough as Iran shuns UN request
Ashish Kumar Sen writes from Washington

Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Thursday shunned a U.N. request to end uranium enrichment saying his country would not step back “one iota,” while in Washington Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warned Teheran “there will have to be some consequence for that action and that defiance.”

Mohamed ElBaradei, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, met with Ali Larijani, Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, for nearly four hours in Teheran in a bid to end the nuclear standoff. The Iranian rejected Mr. ElBaradei’s proposals calling them “not very important ones.”

Iran insists its nuclear work is for peaceful, civilian purposes, but the United States and a number of its allies believe it is building a bomb. Mr. Ahmadinejad this week claimed Iran was conducting “research” on a next-generation of centrifuges, called the P-2, based on a Pakistani design. Tehran has not revealed the extent of help it’s nuclear programme received from Abdul Qadeer Khan, the Pakistani nuclear scientist notorious for running a black market that proliferated technology to rogue nations.

In Washington, Miss Rice noted that an IAEA Board of Governors' vote had referred the Iranian case to the U.N. Security Council with a set of requirements that include the “suspension of enrichment and reprocessing activities in Iran, a return to negotiation so that Iran can begin to reestablish some confidence in the international community after the 18 years in which it deceived the IAEA about activities there.”

She cautioned that Mr. Ahmadinejad’s regime was isolating itself and is doing so “despite the great desire of the international community to engage and to reach out to the Iranian people. The Iranian people do not deserve to be isolated.”

The Security Council has the ability to compel, through Chapter 7 resolutions, member-states of the U.N. to obey the will of the international system. Miss Rice was certain “that we'll look at measures that could be taken to ensure that Iran knows that they really have no choice but to comply.” Under a Chapter 7 resolution, the Security Council’s options include sanctions and military action. 


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